Hacking CD/DVD/Blu-ray for Biosensing

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The optical pickup unit (OPU) within a CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive integrates 780, 650, and 405 nm wavelength lasers, diffraction-limited optics, a high-bandwidth optoelectronic transducer up to 400 MHz, and a nano-resolution x-, z-axis and tilt actuator in a compact size. In addition, the OPU is a remarkable piece of engineering and could enable different scientific applications such as sub-angstrom displacement sensing, micro and nanoimaging, and nanolithography. Although off-the-shelf OPUs can be easily obtained, manufacturers protect their datasheets under non-disclosure agreements to impede their availability to the public. Thus, OPUs are black boxes that few people can use for research, and only experienced researchers can access all their functions. This review details the OPU mechanism and components. In addition, we explain how to utilize three commercially available triple-wavelength OPUs from scratch and optimize sensing quality. Then, we discuss scientific research using OPUs, from standard optical drive-based turnkey-biomarker array reading and OPU direct bio-applications (cytometry, optical tweezing, bioimaging) to modified OPU-based biosensing (DNA chip fluorescence scanning, biomolecular diagnostics). We conclude by presenting future trends on optical storage devices and potential applications. Repurposing low-cost and high-performance OPUs may spread micro and nanoscale biosensing research from research labs to citizen scientists around the globe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Sensors
Volume3
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1222-1232
Number of pages11
ISSN2379-3694
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.

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    Research areas

  • Compact disc (CD), Digital versatile disc (DVD), Blu-ray, Optical pickup-unit (OPU), Nanobio imaging, Cytometer, Optical tweezer, DNA chip, Fluorescence excitation emission matrix, Medical diagnostics

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