Laser Micro-Interferometry for Single Corona Virus Detection


This EPSRC-PhD project will develop single coronavirus sensing capabilities based on the laser interferometric technology pioneered in Professor Vollmer's laboratory, see, and apply the instrument for testing saliva and nasal patient samples for CoV2 virus nanoparticles.  The goal is to develop new sensing physics for the specific single CoV2 virus detection by laser-interferometers (optical microcavities). The optical method has already been successful for the detection of Influenza A and the clinical trial is to confirm appropriate high-throughput sensing to detect the virus CoV2.


This project is a collaboration between the University of Exeter (Micro-Laser Interferometry, sensing physics); University of Plymouth (Adeno- and coronavirus surrogates for initial testing, receptor molecules); NHS Taunton (deployment and test of instrument with patient samples).

The project will involve: 1) new instrumentation physics for building a micro-interferometer based on whispering-gallery modes excited in glass microspheres see Optical Whispering Gallery Modes for Biosensing - From Physical Principles to Applications 2) miniaturisation by integration with micro/nanofabricated photonics structures and 3D printing, advanced microfluidics 3) Application of optoplasmonic signal enhancements for ultra-sensitive detection at the single virus particle and possibly single molecule level 4) application of advanced sensing schemes based on exceptional points and PT symmetry.


Please contact Prof Frank Vollmer for further information:


Please apply by January 2022