A rapid, precise method for identifying waterborne pathogens is critically needed for effective disinfection and better treatment. However, conventional methods, such as culture-based counting, generally suffer from slow detection times and low sensitivities. Here, we developed a rapid detection method for tracing waterborne pathogens by an innovative optofluidic platform, a plasmonic bacteria on a nanoporous mirror, that allows effective hydrodynamic cell trapping, enrichment of pathogens, and optical signal amplifications. We designed and simulated the integrated optofluidic platform to maximize the enrichment of the bacteria and to align bacteria on the nanopores and plasmonic mirror via hydrodynamic cell trapping. Gold nanoparticles are self-assembled to form antenna arrays on the surface of bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, by replacing citrate with hydroxylamine hydrochloride in order to amplify the signal of the plasmonic optical array. Owing to the synergistic contributions of focused light via the nanopore geometry, self-assembled nanoplasmonic optical antennas on the surface of bacteria, and plasmonic mirror, we obtain a sensitivity of detecting E. coli as low as 102 cells/ml via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. We believe that our label-free strategy via an integrated optofluidic platform will pave the way for the rapid, precise identification of various pathogens.
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© 2018, The Author(s).