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Mycotoxin Biosensor Based on Optical Planar Waveguide

Ali Al-Jawdah 1,* ID , Alexei Nabok 1, Radhyah Jarrah 2, Alan Holloway 1, Anna Tsargorodska 3,
Eszter Takacs
4 and Andras Szekacs 4 ID
1 Materials & Engineering Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK;
[email protected] (A.N.); [email protected] (A.H.)
2 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, The University of Kufa, Najaf 54001, Iraq; [email protected]
3 Department of Chemistry, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HF, UK; [email protected]
4 Agro-Environmental Research Institute, NARIC, Gödöll˝o 2100, Hungary; [email protected] (E.T.);
[email protected] (A.S.)
* Correspondence: [email protected]; Tel.: +44-745-971-8835
Received: 19 April 2018; Accepted: 25 June 2018; Published: 3 July 2018

Abstract: The research aim of this work is to develop a simple and highly sensitive optical biosensor
for detection of mycotoxins. This sensor is built on a planar waveguide operating on the polarization
interferometry principle, i.e., detecting a phase shift between p- and s-components of polarized
light developed during the binding of analyte molecules. The operation of the proposed sensor is
similar to that of a Mach–Zehnder interferometer, while its design is much simpler and it does not
require splitting the waveguide into two arms. The refractive index sensitivity of the polarization
interferometer sensor was in the range of 5200 radians per refractive index unit (RIU). Several tests
were conducted to detect ochratoxin A (OTA) at different concentrations in direct immunoassay
with specific antibodies immobilized in the sensing window. The lowest concentration of OTA of
0.01 ng/mL caused a phase shift of nearly one period. The results obtained prove high sensitivity
of the sensors, which are capable of detecting even lower concentrations of mycotoxins at the ppt
(part-per-trillion) level.

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