BME assistant professor Judith Su is working on ways to detect trace amounts of biomarkers for diseases, including COVID-19, in her Little Sensor Lab. In a recent interview with Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Su explained the technology she is calling FLOWER: frequency locked optical whispering evanescent resonator.
“This optical technology is something that could immediately improve the quality of people’s lives and really make a difference,” Su said. “It was a no-brainer for us to apply it to the pandemic situation.”
FLOWER can detect substances down to a single molecule, using tiny light waves that are about the size of a grain of salt. According to Su, the goal is to create a handheld “point-of-care” device that would allow users to screen themselves for COVID-19 or other diseases by having them breathe into the device. The technology also can be used to test drugs and other treatments, something that could be invaluable to the current pandemic or future crises.
“The medical field is something that we can have a lot of impact on, even immediate impact,” Su said. “There are a lot of applications in our lab that we are looking at.”