An engineered particle for detecting analytes in an environment includes an electromagnetic receiver that is configured to preferentially receive electromagnetic radiation of a specified polarization relative to the orientation of the electromagnetic receiver. The engineered particle additionally includes an energy emitter coupled to the electromagnetic receiver such that a portion of electromagnetic energy received by the electromagnetic receiver is transferred to and emitted by the energy emitter. The engineered particles are functionalized to selectively interact with an analyte. The engineered particle can additionally be configured to align with a directed energy field in the environment. The selective reception of electromagnetic radiation of a specified polarization and/or alignment with a directed energy field can enable orientation tracking of individual engineered particles, imaging in high-noise environments, or other applications. A method for detecting properties of the analyte of interest by interacting with the engineered particle is also provided.