Fluorescent optical probes have rapidly transformed our understanding of complex biological systems by providing specific information on biological targets in the natural living state. However, their utility is often limited by insufficient brightness, photostability, and multiplexing capacity. Here, we report a conceptually new optical probe, termed 'reflectophore', which is based on the spectral interference from a dielectric microsphere. Reflectophores are orders-of-magnitudes brighter than conventional fluorophores and are free from photobleaching, enabling practically unlimited readout at high fidelity. They also offer high-degree multiplexing, encoded in their optical size, which can be readily decoded through interferometric detection with nanoscale accuracy, even in turbid biological media. Furthermore, we showcase their biological applications in cellular barcoding and microenvironmental sensing of a target protein and local electric field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)