An assay element is described including recognition ligands bound to a film on a single mode planar optical waveguide, the film from the group of a membrane, a polymerized bilayer membrane, and a self-assembled monolayer containing polyethylene glycol or polypropylene glycol groups therein and an assay process for detecting the presence of a biological target is described including injecting a biological target-containing sample into a sensor cell including the assay element, with the recognition ligands adapted for binding to selected biological targets, maintaining the sample within the sensor cell for time sufficient for binding to occur between selected biological targets within the sample and the recognition ligands, injecting a solution including a reporter ligand into the sensor cell; and, interrogating the sample within the sensor cell with excitation light from the waveguide, the excitation light provided by an evanescent field of the single mode penetrating into the biological target-containing sample to a distance of less than about 200 nanometers from the waveguide thereby exciting the fluorescent-label in any bound reporter ligand within a distance of less than about 200 nanometers from the waveguide and resulting in a detectable signal.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.