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19th Scientific Meeting

Next Monday (March 9th) we will host the visit of Dr. Francesco Baldini and Dr. Francesco Chiavaioli from the Istituto di Fisica Applicata "Nello Carrara", in Italy. They were kind to accept our invitation for a Scientific Meeting. So, the two topics are: ‘Optical chemical and biochemical sensors for diagnostics’ and ‘Long period gratings at IFAC’. We invite you all to participate! Don't Miss It! Be Where The Action Is!
When Mar 09, 2015
from 02:30 to 04:00
Where Room -120, Physics and Astronomy Department, FC3
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Francesco Baldini, PhD

Francesco Baldini graduated in physics from the University of Florence magna cum laude in 1986. In 1986 he joined the Optical Fiber Group at IROE-CNR (now IFAC-CNR) in Florence. Active in the field of optical sensors and devices for chemical and biochemical parameters, he is author of more than 150 publications on the subject in International Journals, scientific books and International Conference Proceedings. He is/was coordinator and/or responsible of many international and national project in the field of optical chemo- and biosensors. He is associated editor of Journal of Sensors and was member of the International Advisory Board of Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry from 2005 to 2013. He is Chairman of the ASCOS (Advanced Study Course on Optical Chemical Sensors) Series (www.ascos.org). In 2009 he was nominated fellow of SPIE for achievements in biological and chemical sensing in biomedicine. He is President of the Italian Society of Optics and Photonics for the biennium 2015-2016.


‘Optical chemical and biochemical sensors for diagnostics’

Chemical and biochemical sensing is under the extensive research all over the world and many chemical and biochemical sensors are finding increasing number of applications in industry, environmental monitoring, medicine, biomedicine and chemical analysis. This is evidenced by each-year-growing number of international scientific conferences, in which advances in the field of the sensors are reported. One of the main reason why only a few sensors reaches the international market, notwithstanding the high number laboratory prototype described in many peer reviewed papers, lies in the fact that a biochemical sensor is a highly interdisciplinary “object” the realization of which requires the team work of scientists coming from different areas such as chemistry, physics, optoelectronics, engineering, biochemistry, and medicine. And this peculiarity is not easily found in the research teams.

Health-care is surely the application field which seems to have the best future development perspectives, not only considering invasive applications (the high degree of miniaturisation of optical fibre sensors, their considerable geometrical versatility, and extreme handiness make it possible to perform a continuous monitoring of numerous parameters, thus enabling performances which are often unique) but also taking into account the development of optical multi-array biochips for the analysis of multiple parameters, essential  in view of an immediate rapid screening of the patient pathology. As a matter of fact, optical biosensors, integrated within an optical biochip, can play a leading role in another emerging area of clinical applications: point of care testing (POCT). In clinical practice, the great many of the analytes are measured with large and cumbersome equipments located in central laboratories. On the other hand, there is a need for appropriate instruments able to provide efficiently results in which the traditional laboratory testing is performed at or near the patient site, usually by non-laboratory employees (e.g., nurses, respiratory therapists and perfusionists).  Because of its miniaturization, low cost, and potential for large-scale automation, optical biochip can perform analysis more efficiently than currently available laboratory equipment, satisfying all the requirements of physicians for a fast and rapid determination of the clinical parameters at the patient's bedside. Differently from genomics and proteomics, where thousands of sensing spots are monitored simultaneously by means of fluorescence scanners, in many POCT applications, there is very often the necessity of measuring only a limited number of parameters in order to identify the correct pathology or to monitor the administrated therapy.

In recent years, the importance of optics in the biomedical area has been increasing owing to the advent of nanophotonics, which is opening completely new perspectives. Thanks to the reduction of the probe size to nanoparticles, optical nanosensors have been developed, which penetrate the cell membrane and measure chemical and biochemical analytes directly inside the cell.

The fundamental basis of chemical and biochemical optical sensing are summarised and the new trends in biophotonics are described.



Francesco Chiavaioli, PhD

Francesco Chiavaioli received the MEng degree summa cum laude in Telecommunications Engineering in 2008 and got the PhD in Information Engineering in 2012 from the University of Siena (Siena, Italy) by discussing the PhD dissertation entitled “Design, Development and Testing of a Refractometer based on Optical Fiber Gratings: Physical and Biochemical Applications”. He worked as employer-coordinated freelance work at the Institute of Applied Physics “Nello Carrara” (IFAC) of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) in the theoretical and experimental study of optical fiber long period gratings (LPGs). He is currently working as Post-Doc Fellowship at the same institute in the design and characterization of optical fiber sensors, especially those based on LPGs, to be used for the detection of physical, chemical and biochemical parameters. He is author of more than twenty publications on the subject in International Journals and in International and National Conference Proceedings. He is a member of OSA, SIOF and EOS.


‘Long period gratings at IFAC’


The presentation is focused on the use of long period gratings, mainly for sensing applications. Three different configurations of LPG-based sensors are described. In the first configuration, the grating plane is tilted at increasing angles, leading to a simulation of fibre bending on a straight portion of optical fiber. This internally manufactured structure, increases the RI sensitivity of an LPG to the external medium. Then, standard and turn around-point LPGs are used as platforms for optical biosensing and their performances are compared by means of the implementation of an IgG-antiIgG bioassay.  Finally, a new method for coupling light to high-Q silica whispering gallery mode resonators (WGMs), which is based on the use of LPGs and a “thick” taper along the same fiber, is described. The suggested approach is much more robust and useful especially for practical applications. Moreover, by cascading LPGs with different periods, a wavelength selective addressing of different resonators along the same fiber is also possible.

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