The present embodiment describes a miniature, microfluidic, absorption-based sensor to detect proteins at sensitivities comparable to LIF but without the need for tagging. This instrument utilizes fiber-based evanescent-field cavity-ringdown spectroscopy, in combination with faceted prism microchannels. The combination of these techniques will increase the effective absorption path length by a factor of 10.sup.3 to 10.sup.4 (to .about.1-m), thereby providing unprecedented sensitivity using direct absorption. The coupling of high-sensitivity absorption with high-performance microfluidic separation will enable real-time sensing of biological agents in aqueous samples (including aerosol collector fluids) and will provide a general method with spectral fingerprint capability for detecting specific bio-agents.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under government contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention, including a paid-up license and the right, in limited circumstances, to require the owner of any patent issuing in this invention to license others on reasonable terms.