Black phosphorus based fiber optic biosensor for ultrasensitive cancer diagnosis

Lin Zhou, Chen Liu, Zhengbo Sun, Hongju Mao, Lin Zhang, Xuefeng Yu, Jianlong Zhao, Xianfeng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose the first black phosphorus (BP) – fiber optic biosensor for ultrasensitive diagnosis of human neuron-specific enolase (NSE) cancer biomarkers. A novel optical-nano configuration has been exploited by integrating BP nanosheets with a largely tilted fiber grating (BP-TFG), where the BP is bio-functionalized by the poly-L-lysine acting as a critical cross-linker to facilitate bio-nano-photonic interface with extremely enhanced light-matter interaction. BP nanosheets are synthesized by a liquid ultrasonication-based exfoliation and deposited on fiber device by an in-situ layer-by-layer method. The BP-induced optical modulation effects in terms of thickness-tunable feature, polarization-dependence and enhanced light-matter interaction are experimentally investigated. The anti-NSE immobilized BP-TFG biosensor has been implemented to detect NSE biomarkers demonstrating ultrahigh sensitivity with limit of detection down to 1.0 pg/mL, which is 4 orders magnitude lower than NSE cut-off value of small cell lung cancer. The enhanced sensitivity of BP-TFG is 100-fold higher than graphene oxide or AuNPs based biosensors. We believe that BP-fiber optic configuration opens a new bio-nano-photonic platform for the applications in healthcare, biomedical, food safety and environmental monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Early online date25 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Funding: projects of EU FP7 PIRSES-GA-2013-612267 (iPhoto-Bio) and the Sêr Cymru NRN Fund (NRN097), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.61571429 and 61801464).


  • Black phosphorus
  • Cancer biomarker
  • Fiber grating
  • Label-free
  • Neuron-specific enolase
  • Optical biosensor


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