The Quest for Optical Multiplexing in Bio-discoveries

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Chem, 2018, 4 (5), pp. 997 - 1021
Issue Date:
2018-05-10
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Optical multiplexing has significantly boosted our capacity to acquire and process information in the modern era. This review surveys new methods for coding optical information to move from the macroscopic to the nanoscale. We highlight that advances in new materials, fabrication methods, super-resolution imaging tools, and microfluidic devices are the enabling technologies for many recent breakthroughs in micro- and nanoscale biophotonics. Multidimensional optical coding has been developed to assign addressable molecular probes for multiplexed molecular and cellular sensing. While illustrating the principles of coding information in multiple dimensions, we discuss prospective opportunities in material design and technological advancement and identify the challenges for eventually integrating and translating these biophotonic tools into cellular insights. Recent discoveries in luminescent materials, the advent of lasers, and high-resolution microscopy offer improvements to bio-discovery processes and better reporting that will ultimately boost healthcare efficiency. However, slow analysis of the screening process has limited the delivery of improved patient care. Analysis of one or two molecular or cellular targets is no longer sufficient for characterizing a disease or biochemical process, and cellular imaging typically generates significant amounts of information from even a single cell, let alone larger interacting biological systems. By developing optical multiplexing into multiple dimensions, we can significantly increase the throughput of imaging, allowing simultaneous tracking of multiple targets. The eventual goal of optical multiplexing is to synchronize developments in materials and platforms to boost the throughput of bio-discovery to enable us to mine the enormous amounts of information buried inside living organisms. Analysis of one or two molecular or cellular targets is no longer sufficient for characterizing a disease or biochemical process. Cellular imaging typically generates significant amounts of information from even a single cell, let alone larger interacting biological systems. We review new methods for coding optical information, moving from the macroscopic to the nanoscale, and discuss potential opportunities and challenges for developing optical multiplexing to boost the capacity of bio-discovery.
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