Unraveling Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Bacterial Networks on Micropillar Architectures Using Intrinsic Phase-Shift Spectroscopy

Heidi Leonard, Sarel Halachmi, Nadav Ben-Dov, Ofer Nativ, Ester Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With global antimicrobial resistance becoming increasingly detrimental to society, improving current clinical antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) is crucial to allow physicians to initiate appropriate antibiotic treatment as early as possible, reducing not only mortality rates but also the emergence of resistant pathogens. In this work, we tackle the main bottlenecks in clinical AST by designing biofunctionalized silicon micropillar arrays to provide both a preferable solid-liquid interface for bacteria networking and a simultaneous transducing element that monitors the response of bacteria when exposed to chosen antibiotics in real time. We harness the intrinsic ability of the micropillar architectures to relay optical phase-shift reflectometric interference spectroscopic measurements (referred to as PRISM) and employ it as a platform for culture-free, label-free phenotypic AST. The responses of E. coli to various concentrations of five clinically relevant antibiotics are optically tracked by PRISM, allowing for the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values to be determined and compared to both standard broth microdilution testing and clinic-based automated AST system readouts. Capture of bacteria within these microtopologies, followed by incubation of the cells with the appropriate antibiotic solution, yields rapid determinations of antibiotic susceptibility. This platform not only provides accurate MIC determinations in a rapid manner (total assay time of 2-3 h versus 8 h with automated AST systems) but can also be employed as an advantageous method to differentiate bacteriostatic and bactericidal antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6167-6177
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2017


  • antimicrobial susceptibility
  • bacterial resistance
  • diffraction grating spectroscopy
  • micropillars
  • real-time antimicrobial susceptibility tests

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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