Imagine a swarm of tiny devices only a few hundred nanometers in size that can detect trace amounts of toxins in a water supply or the very earliest signs of cancer in the blood.
Now imagine that these tiny sensors can reset themselves, allowing for repeated use over time inside a body of water – or a human body.
Improving nanodevice biosensors is the goal of Mark Reed, Harold Hodgkinson Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science. Reed and his colleagues have reported a recent breakthrough in designing electronic biosensors that can be regenerated and reused repeatedly.
Biosensors are used to detect and measure toxins in the environment; in the body they can identify chemical biomarkers that signal cancer and disease states by detecting changes at the molecular level. Reed’s lab has created biosensors using silicon nanowires configured as tiny transistors that are exponentially more sensitive than current sensing technology, in addition to being cheaper and easier to use.
Reed’s latest research, published in the journal ACS Nano, outlines a method to add a layer of molecules to the surface of the biosensor that can be chemically regenerated, allowing for reuse. The ability to recharge nanodevice biosensors makes them more useful for applications like the remote monitoring of toxins or biothreats.
via Yale University
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