Innovation: More accurate and cost-effective diagnostics thanks to OLEDs and photonic crystals


Blood tests to identify infections using OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diode) and photonic crystals are the subject of a patent owned by ENEA (70%) and Fos SpA (30%), developed at the ENEA Nanomaterials and Devices Laboratory in Portici jointly with the Institute of Applied Sciences and  Intelligent Systems of the CNR of Pozzuoli.

"Our Photometric Station allows to perform immunoenzymatic tests to detect the possible presence of antibodies or antigens in a sample, typically in blood, and ascertain, for example, the presence of an infection, such as the ELISA test - Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay ", explained Giuseppe Nenna, ENEA researcher and inventor of the patent jointly with other ENEA researchers[1]

What makes this innovative system unique is the use of new-generation OLED optical sources which guarantee a wide spectral band to cover all the wavelengths usually used for this type of diagnostic test, as well as a rationalization of tests ( e.g. a single device to illuminate multiple samples to be examined). In addition there is the use of photonic crystals, periodically ordered nanostructures which can select suitable wavelengths.

"Our system is also characterized by an innovative light filtering technique based on photonic crystals which allows an accurate and adjustable selection of the wavelengths and bandwidth used and most required to analyse the samples", said Nenna, who developed the filtering technique together with the CNR research team “Nanophotonics and Artificial Materials” led by Lucia Petti and, in particular, with the contribution of Massimo Rippa and Ambra Vestri.

The use of organic devices allows to contain cost of the system and its level of integration can be increased more easily, allowing for smaller dimensions and weights, making the system compact, easily integrated and scalable even on substrates.

"This patent allows to further develop the virtuous collaboration between research and business that ENEA and Fos have conducted for about 10 years. After the successful experiences in the Agro field, the technology of the Photometric Station patented marks innovative step in the in vitro analysis aimed at identifying infections from pathogens. With the next steps towards the consolidation and engineering of the photometric station, it will be possible to have a new medical apparatus and new processes useful in the prevention of pandemics ", explained Giorgio Allasia, Director of Engineering and R&D Business Unit - Head of Technology Transfer of Fos SpA.

For more information please contact:

Giuseppe Nenna, ENEA – Nanomaterials and Devices Laboratory,





Filed under: