Metasurfaces for biomedical applications: imaging and sensing from a nanophotonics perspective

Shuyan Zhang, Chi Lok Wong, Shuwen Zeng, Renzhe Bi, Kolvyn Tai, Kishan Dholakia, Malini Olivo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Metasurface is a recently developed nanophotonics concept to manipulate the properties of light by replacing conventional bulky optical components with ultrathin (more than 104 times thinner) flat optical components. Since the first demonstration of metasurfaces in 2011, they have attracted tremendous interest in the consumer optics and electronics industries. Recently, metasurface-empowered novel bioimaging and biosensing tools have emerged and been reported. Given the recent advances in metasurfaces in biomedical engineering, this review article covers the state of the art for this technology and provides a comprehensive interdisciplinary perspective on this field. The topics that we have covered include metasurfaces for chiral imaging, endoscopic optical coherence tomography, fluorescent imaging, super-resolution imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, quantitative phase imaging, sensing of antibodies, proteins, DNAs, cells, and cancer biomarkers. Future directions are discussed in twofold: Application-specific biomedical metasurfaces and bioinspired metasurface devices. Perspectives on challenges and opportunities of metasurfaces, biophotonics, and translational biomedical devices are also provided. The objective of this review article is to inform and stimulate interdisciplinary research: Firstly, by introducing the metasurface concept to the biomedical community; and secondly by assisting the metasurface community to understand the needs and realize the opportunities in the medical fields. In addition, this article provides two knowledge boxes describing the design process of a metasurface lens and the performance matrix of a biosensor, which serve as a "crash-course"introduction to those new to both fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20200373
Number of pages35
VolumeAhead of Print
Early online date7 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sept 2020


  • Bioimaging
  • Biophotonics
  • Biosensing
  • Metasurface
  • Nanophotonics


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