Gene expression analysis of low abundance genes remains difficult when DNA microarrays are performed on standard glass substrates. However, we have shown that by using photonic crystals (PC) made on quartz substrates, the fluorescence intensity of Cyanine-5 (Cy5) labeled microarray spots is greatly enhanced. In a 1-color microarray experiment studying gene expression of soybean cotyledon tissue, an average signal enhancement factor of 17.8× was observed on the PC. Furthermore, twice as many genes were detectable on these PCs as compared to glass. By improving the sensitivity of this fluorescent assay, low expression genes that were undetectable on glass were quantified on the PC.