Cameron Smith

Plasmonic nanofocusing for high resolution DNA mapping

This project is funded as an individual postdoctoral grant by The Danish Council for Independent Research | Technology and Production Sciences
Institution: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Amount: 2.427.605 kr. (€324.980) + 829.737 kr. (€111.075)
Project period: November 2012 - June 2015

Project summary

We aim to advance cancer and genetic research by developing the capability to perform rapid identification and locating of specific genomic sections of a DNA sequence. Currently, DNA-based diagnostics involve the reading of a patient’s entire genomic sequence, a process that requires several days of sample handling and intensive data sorting from many different cells. While sequencing technologies to-date have assisted tremendous breakthroughs, they are still impractical for analysis within a population of cells, e.g. a tumour, where it has been revealed there is a substantial genomic diversity from cell to cell. One approach to circumvent this impracticality is to locate a short, targeted section of the genomic sequence such as a known mutation. Not only would this dramatically reduce the sequencing necessary and render population analyses straightforward, but also enable investigations into other genetic questions that have hitherto been impossible to answer. To this end, barcoding of DNA molecules in nanofluidic channels via fluorescence imaging has shown much promise, but the technique is limited by the associated optical resolution involved. We aim to address this concern by integrating plasmonics - electron waves at the surface of a metal that can focus light beyond the diffraction limit - into a nanofluidic device suitable for reading nano-scale DNA features. 

The project is a collaboration between:

  • The host Optofluidics group at the Technical University of Denmark 
    (Prof. Anders Kristensen)
  • The Nano-Opto group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel 
    (Prof. Uriel Levy) 

Other projects and supervision

Highlights (since Nov. 2012)

  • Low-cost polymer guided mode resonance filters for sensing applications
    Talk at 3rd EOS Conference on Optofluidics, Munich, Germany, June 2015 
  • Nano Imprinted DFB Lasers: High Performance Sensing and Biolasers
    Talk at MRS meeting, Boston, USA, November 30 - December 5, 2014
  • Accurate Wavelength Prediction of Photonic Crystal Resonant Reflection and Applications in Refractive Index Measurement
    Talk at IEEE Sensors 2014, Valencia, Spain, Nov. 4, 2014 
  • Nanoreplicated Photonic Crystal Resonant Reflectors for Refractive Index Sensing
    Talk at 40th International Conference on Micro and Nano Engineering, Lausanne, Switzerland, Sept. 25, 2014
  • Polymer laser bio-sensors
    Invited talk at OSA Optical Sensors, Barcelona, July 27-31, 2014  
  • Exciting channel-plasmons in tailored, UV-lithography-defined V-grooves
    Invited talk [as presenter] at Summit Workshop on Photonics Technologies, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 19-20, 2014
  • High excitation efficiency of channel plasmon polaritons in tailored, UV-lithography-defined V-grooves
    Talk [as presenter] at CLEO, San Jose, USA, June 8-13, 2014
  • High efficiency excitation of channel plasmon-polaritons in V-grooves
    Poster at Nanolight, Benasque, Spain, March 2-8, 2014
  • Enhancing the performance of distributed feedback dye lasers and plasmonic V-grooves for lab-on-a-chip systems
    Invited talk [as presenter] at Lab-on-a-Chip World Congress, San Diego, USA, September 12-13, 2013
  • Multilayer slab waveguide distributed feedback dye laser sensors
    Invited talk at PIERS, Stockholm, August 12-15, 2013
  • Multilayer distributed feedback dye lasers: Enhanced emission wavelength and sensing
    Talk at CLEO Europe, in Munich, May 12-16, 2013
    Other highlights:
    • Sapere Aude  "Young Elite Researcher" Award
    • Featured in DTU Nanotech "Samples"
    • Filed patent 11/04/2014; European patent app. no.: 14164354.4
      Method of and System for Identification or Estimation of a Refractive Index of a Liquid

    Recipient biography

    I have been a postdoctoral researcher in the field of optics, specialising in photonic crystals and plasmonic devices. My focus centered on the investigation of novel approaches for (bio)sensing, display technologies and optical-based DNA analysis. Throughout my ten years as a researcher I have authored peer-review journal papers in the topic areas of plasmonics, optical fibres, evanescent coupling, single photon sources, high-Q resonators, reconfigurable microfluidic devices, polymer-based dye lasers, gas sensing, enhanced interior lighting and electrically modulated transparent displays via liquid crystals. 

    My postdoctoral position was at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) with the Optofluidics group in the Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology. I started there in 2009 after receiving a Hans Christian Ørsted postdoctoral programme award (2009-2010), continuing via the successful pursuit of two additional competitive postdoctoral stipends: a Marie Curie FP7 International Incoming Fellowship (2010-12) and a Danish Council for Independent Research postdoctoral grant with Sapere Aude honours (2012-15). I am now employed at NKT Photonics.

    Outside of work I can be found spending time with my girlfriend and friends in Denmark, travelling to new places (within or outside Europe), playing tennis, skiing or scuba diving.


    Technical University of Denmark
    Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology
    Ørsteds Plads, Building 344, Room 122
    2800 Kgs. Lyngby
    Direct: +45 4525 6330


    We aim to advance cancer and genetic research by developing the capability to perform rapid identification and locating of specific genomic
    We aim to advance cancer and genetic research by developing the capability to perform rapid identification and locating of specific genomic