Rapid transdermal bloodless and reagent-free malaria detection

Ekaterina Y. Lukianova-Hleb, Kelly M. Campbell, Pamela E. Constantinou, Janet Braam, John S. Olson, Russell E. Ware, David S. Sullivan, Dmitri Lapotko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Successful diagnosis, screening, and elimination of malaria critically depend on rapid and sensitive detection of this dangerous infection, preferably transdermally and without sophisticated reagents or blood drawing. Such diagnostic methods are not currently available. Here we show that the high optical absorbance and nanosize of endogenous heme nanoparticles called hemozoin, a unique component of all blood-stage malaria parasites, generate a transient vapor nanobubble around hemozoin in response to a short and safe near-infrared picosecond laser pulse. The acoustic signals of these malaria-specific nanobubbles provided the first transdermal non-invasive and rapid detection of a malaria infection as low as 0.00034% in animals without using any reagents or drawing blood. These on-demand transient events have no analogs among current malaria markers and probes, can detect and screen malaria in seconds and can be realized as a compact, easy to use, inexpensive and safe field technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XII
ISBN (Print)9780819498489
StatePublished - 2014
EventAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 2 2014Feb 4 2014

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Hemozoin
  • Laser
  • Malaria
  • Vapor nanobubble

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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