Photoluminescent Molecules and Materials as Diagnostic Reporters in Lateral Flow Assays

Adheesha N. Danthanarayana, Jakoah Brgoch, Richard C. Willson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The lateral flow assay (LFA) is a point-of-care diagnostic test commonly available in an over-the-counter format because of its simplicity, speed, low cost, and portability. The reporter particles in these assays are among their most significant components because they perform the diagnostic readout and dictate the test's sensitivity. Today, gold nanoparticles are frequently used as reporters, but recent work focusing on photoluminescent-based reporter technologies has pushed LFAs to better performance. These efforts have focused specifically on reporters made of organic fluorophores, quantum dots, lanthanide chelates, persistent luminescent phosphors, and upconversion phosphors. In most cases, photoluminescent reporters show enhanced sensitivity compared to conventional gold nanoparticle-based assays. Here, we examine the advantages and disadvantages of these different reporters and highlight their potential benefits in LFAs. Our assessment shows that photoluminescent-based LFAs can not only reach lower detection limits than LFAs with traditional reporters, but they also can be capable of quantitative and multiplex analyte detection. As a result, the photoluminescent reporters make LFAs well-suited for medical diagnostics, the food and agricultural industry, and environmental testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 17 2022


  • lanthanide chelates
  • lateral flow assay
  • organic fluorophores
  • persistent luminescent phosphors
  • photoluminescent reporters
  • quantum dots
  • upconversion phosphors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, medical


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