Thermotropic liquid crystal-based sensors for naked-eye detection of SARS-CoV-2 with ultrahigh sensitivity and selectivity

The Need

In the wake of the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, the need for rapid, accurate, and efficient diagnostic methods for respiratory viral infections has become more critical than ever. Traditional diagnostic methods, while reliable, are often time-consuming, labor-intensive, and lack the necessary sensitivity and specificity for early intervention.

The Technology

The technology described here is a biosensor that employs Liquid Crystals (LCs) to detect and identify RNA viruses. The biosensor’s detection region comprises a nucleic acid probe-cationic surfactant layer present at the interface of a liquid crystal and a polar solvent. When the target nucleic acid analyte in a test solution hybridizes to the nucleic acid probe, it reorients the liquid crystal. This reorientation can be easily observed when viewed between crossed polarizers, thereby detecting the target nucleic acid analyte in the test solution.

Commercial Applications

  • Rapid Diagnostic Testing: This technology can be used in hospitals and clinics for rapid diagnostic testing of viral illnesses.
  • Outbreak Tracking: It can be employed in public health settings for tracking outbreaks of respiratory illnesses.
  • Research Purposes: This technology can also be used in research laboratories for studying RNA viruses.


  • Speed: This technology provides results faster than traditional diagnostic methods such as viral culture.
  • Sensitivity and Specificity: It offers high sensitivity and specificity, overcoming the limitations of other rapid tests like EIA.
  • Ease of Observation: The optical changes produced by LCs can be easily observed, making this technology user-friendly.
  • Non-Labor Intensive: Unlike DFA or viral culture, this method is not labor-intensive.

Loading icon