A sensor designed to detect bio-molecules is presented. The sensor exploits a planar 2D photonic crystal (PC) membrane with sub-micron thickness and through holes, to induce high optical fields that allow detection of nano-particles smaller than the diffraction limit of an optical microscope. We report on our design and fabrication of a PC membrane with a nano-particle trapped inside. We have also designed and built an imaging system where an optical microscope and a CCD camera are used to take images of the PC membrane. Results show how the trapped nano-particle appears as a bright spot in the image. In a first experimental realization of the imaging system, single particles with a radius of 75 nm can be detected.