Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Materials Science and Engineering (M.S.M.S.E)

Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Venkat Bhethanabotla, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jason Fleming, M.D.

Committee Member

Ramesh Ayyala, M.D.


CEA, Limit of Detection, Nanoparticles, Rapid Thermal Annealing


This thesis includes data and discussion about the technique of metal-enhanced fluorescence (MEF) to lower the detection limit of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). The detection limit goes down to 100pg/mL level when using MEF substrate made by rapid thermally annealed silver film covered by silica, which has great promise in diagnosing certain types of cancer that uses CEA as detection biomarker, such as pancreatic cancer and colon cancer. To further address the issue of background noises from non-specifically bound proteins (NSB) in complex media, such as plasma, serum, urine and blood, MEF is integrated with surface acoustic wave (SAW) streaming in order to remove these proteins from human plasma while keeping the characteristic of MEF to increase signal to detect target analyte. SAW has also been proven to have the effect of reducing incubation time between antibody and target antigen. Analyzing fluorescence signal shows that the NSB in human plasma can be successfully reduced while the CEA detection limit can be lowered down to 500pg/mL by combining MEF with SAW, allowing for construction of a point of need sensing platform for biomarkers from such complex fluids.