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Optofluidics is a research and technology area that combines the advantages of microfluidics and optics. Applications of the technology include displays, biosensors, lab-on-chip devices, lenses, and molecular imaging tools and energy.


The idea of fluid-optical devices can be traced back at least as far as the 18th century, when spinning pools of mercury were proposed (and eventually developed) as liquid mirror telescopes. In the 20th century new technologies such as dye lasers and liquid core waveguides were developed that took advantage of the tunability and physical adaptability that liquids provided to these newly emerging photonic systems. The field of optofluidics formally began to emerge in the mid-2000s as the fields of microfluidics and nanophotonics were maturing and researchers began to look for synergies between these two areas.[1] One of the primary applications of the field is for lab-on-a-chip and biophotonic products.[2][3][4]

Current Research and Technologies[edit]

There are numerous research groups worldwide working on optofluidics, including those listed below.

Country University / Institute Group Topic
 Australia University of Sydney CUDOS (Eggleton)[5] Photonic Crystals.
 Austria Johannes Kepler University Linz Institute for Microelectronics and Microsensors (Jakoby)[6] Fluidic sensors, Miniaturized IR sensor systems, microfluidic actuators.
 Canada University of Toronto Sinton Group[7] biosensors, energy.
 Canada University of Toronto Biophotonics Group (Levy)[8] Photonic crystals, sensors.
 Canada The University of British Columbia MiNa Group[9] Integrated optofluidics, sensors.
 Canada Queen's University Escobedo Group[10] Optical Diagnostics, Micro/Nano-devices.
 Denmark Danish Technical University Kristensen Group[11] Polymer optofluidics, lasers, single molecule analysis.
 Israel Hebrew University NanoOpto Group (Levy)[12] Optical Resonators, Plasmonics.
 Iran Sharif University of Technology M.S. Saidi Group[13] Optical Diagnostic Methods, Biofluids.
 South Korea Seoul National University Biophotonics and Nano Engineering Lab (Kwon)[14] Directed assembly, sensors, structural color.
 South Korea KAIST Superlattice Nanomaterials Lab (Yang)[15] Optofluidic materials, SERS sensors.
 Germany Technical University Berlin Institute of Optics and Atomic Physics Glass surface and volume structuring.
 Germany Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Biophotonic Sensors Group (Mappes)[16] Sensors, fabrication and integration techniques.
 Germany University of Münster Nonlinear Photonics Group (Denz) [17] Optical tweezing and its integration into optofluidic setups, direct-laser-writing of optofluidic components
 Republic of China National Taiwan University Bio-Optofluidic System Lab [18] optical sensing for dynamic cellular phenotyping.
 Republic of China National Yang-Ming University Integrated Biomedical and Optofluidic Systems Lab [19] optofluidic sensing, thermophoreis, SERS, LSPR.
  Switzerland EPFL Psaltis Group[20] optofluidic switches, imaging, energy.
 Singapore Nanyang Technological University A.Q. Liu Group[21] Optofluidic waveguides, lab-on-a-chip devices.
 Singapore Nanyang Technological University N.T. Nguyen Group[22] Diagnostics, Transport.
Template:ES ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences Quidant group[23] LSPR sensing, Plasmonic tweezers.
 Turkey Koç University Nano-Optics Research Lab.[24] Droplet resonators, optofluidic waveguides, optical trapping and manipulation.
 United Kingdom University of St Andrews Optical Manipulation Group[25] Optofluidic sensing, trapping, Raman spectroscopy, cell sorting, photoporation
 United Kingdom University of Strathclyde Centre for Microsystems & Photonics[26] Optofluidic components in photonic systems
 United States Purdue University Steve Wereley Group[27] Holographic optical tweezing, Optoelctrokinetic Patterning, Programmable Microfluidics, Micro-PIV.
 United States Cornell University Erickson Group[28] nanophotonic tweezing, optofluidic switches, biosensors, energy.
 United States UC Santa Cruz Applied Optics Group[29] Arrow waveguides, single molecule optofluidics.
 United States Brigham Young University Hawkins Research Group[30] Optofluidic waveguides, single molecule optical analysis.
 United States Caltech Yang Biophotonics Group[31] Optofluidic Microscopy, Imaging, OCT.
 United States UC San Diego Ultrafast and Nanoscale Optics Group (Fainman)[32] Nanoscale lasers, optofluidic switches, silicon devices.
 United States University of Michigan Sherman Fan Lab[33] Optofluidic lasers, SERS, ring resonators.
 United States University of Maryland White Research Group[34] Medical diagnostics, SERS, circulating tumor cells.
 United States Caltech Nanofabrication Group (Scherer)[35] Optofluidic Lasers, DNA detection, photonic crystals.
 United States Penn State BioNEMS Laboratory (Huang)[36] Optofluidic lenses, plasmonics.
 United States UC Berkeley BioPOETS (Lee)[37] Optofluidic transport, SERS, microfluidics.
 United States UC Berkeley Berkeley Integrated Photonics Lab (Wu)[38] Optoelectronic tweezers.
 United States UC San Diego Lo Research Group[39] Optofluidic flow cytometry.
 United States UIUC Nano Sensors Group (Cunningham)[40] Photonic Crystal Sensors, SERS.
 United States Harvard Crozier Group[41] Near Field Trapping, SERS
 United States Princeton University Imaging Physics Group[42] Microfluidic Tomography,[43]

Deconvolution,[44] Superresolution[45]

 United States Iowa State University Nastaran Hashemi Group[46] Optofluidics, microfluidics, biosensors, diagnostics and therapeutics, energy.
 United States Iowa State University Attinger Group[47] Optofluidic transport
 United States Boston University LINBS (Altug)[48] Plasmonics, nanohole sensors, high throughput diagnostics
 United States University of Wisconsin, Madison Micro/nano sensors and actuators group [49] Liquid tunable microlenses.
 Belgium Vrije Universiteit Brussel Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT) [50] Polymer optofluidics, biosensors

Companies and Technology Transfer[edit]

Optofluidic and related research has led to the formation of a number of new products and start-up companies. Varioptic specializes in the development of electrowetting based lenses for numerous applications. Optofluidics, Inc. was launched in 2011 from Cornell University in order to develop tools for molecular trapping and disease diagnosis based on photonic resonator technology. Liquilume from UC Santa Cruz specializes in molecular diagnostics based on arrow waveguides.

In 2012, the European Commission has launched a new COST framework that is concerned solely with optofluidic technology and their application.[51] The goal of MP1205:Advances in Optofluidics is to strengthen the optofluidics sector and to foster the connections between European research labs by organizing joint workshops and mutual laboratory visits.


  1. ^ Psaltis, D; Quake, SR; Yang, C (2006). "Developing optofluidic technology through the fusion of microfluidics and optics". Nature 442 (7101): 381–6. Bibcode:2006Natur.442..381P. doi:10.1038/nature05060. PMID 16871205. 
  2. ^ Zahn, p. 185
  3. ^ Boas, Gary (June 2011). "Optofluidics and the Real World: Technologies Evolve to Meet 21st Century Challenges". Photonics Spectra. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  4. ^ "Optofluidics: Optofluidics can create small, cheap biophotonic devices". Jul 1, 2006. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  5. ^ Cudos | An ARC Centre of Excellence
  6. ^ Institute for Microelectronics and Microsensors: Home
  7. ^ SintonLab | Fluidics & Energy
  8. ^ Biophotonics Group Website at the University of Toronto
  9. ^ Microsystems and Nanotechnology Group (MiNa) | MiNa
  10. ^ escobedolab.com
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Prof Uriel Levy - Nano-Opto group
  13. ^ Home
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ [3][dead link]
  16. ^ [4][dead link]
  17. ^ AG Denz - AG Nichtlineare Photonik
  18. ^ NTU Huang Lab / Home
  19. ^ Integrated Biomedical and Optofluidic Systems (InBiOS)
  20. ^ LO - Optics Laboratory | EPFL
  21. ^ MEMS_home
  22. ^ [5][dead link]
  23. ^ ICFO-Research-Plasmon Nano-Optics Group
  24. ^ Koç University Optofluidics and Nano-Optics Research Laboratory | Research group of Dr. Alper Kiraz
  25. ^ Optical Manipulation Group, University of St Andrews
  26. ^ Centre for Microsystems & Photonics - University of Strathclyde
  27. ^ Steve Wereley
  28. ^ Erickson Lab @ Cornell University
  29. ^ Applied Optics - UC Santa Cruz
  30. ^ BYU EcEn Faculty - Aaron Hawkins' Research Group Index
  31. ^ The Changhuei Yang Research Group at Caltech
  32. ^ http://emerald.ucsd.edu/index.html
  33. ^ Optofluidic and Micro/nanophotonic Sensor Laboratory
  34. ^ White Research Group
  35. ^ Caltech Nanofabrication Group
  36. ^ Penn State Acoustofluidics Laboratory
  37. ^ BioPOETS | University of California, Berkeley
  38. ^ IPL: Integrated Photonics Laboratory
  39. ^ [6][dead link]
  40. ^ Nano Sensors Group | Illinois
  41. ^ http://www.seas.harvard.edu/crozier/index.html
  42. ^ Fleischer Research Group
  43. ^ Flow-scanning optical tomography N. C. Pégard, M. L. Toth, M. Driscoll, and J. W. Fleischer Lab Chip, (2014),14, 4447-4450 [7]
  44. ^ N. C. Pégard and J. W. Fleischer, Journal of Biomedical Optics 18 040503 (2013)[8]
  45. ^ C-H. Lu, N. C. Pégard and J. W. Fleischer, 2013, Applied Physics Letters, 102 161115 (2013)[9]
  46. ^ Hashemi Lab: Bio Microfluidic and Optofluidic Systems
  47. ^ Daniel Attinger
  48. ^ [10][dead link]
  49. ^ MNSA Lab @ UW-Madison
  50. ^ B-Phot - Home
  51. ^ AG Denz - COST Action MP1205