WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have created a precise biosensor for detecting blood glucose and potentially many other biological molecules by using hollow structures called single-wall carbon nanotubes anchored to gold-coated "nanocubes."
The device resembles a tiny cube-shaped tetherball. Each tetherball is a sensor and is anchored to electronic circuitry by a nanotube, which acts as both a tether and ultrathin wire to conduct electrical signals, said Timothy Fisher, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering.
The technology, which detects glucose more precisely than any biosensors in development, also might be used in medicine to detect other types of biological molecules and in future biosensors for scientific research, said Marshall Porterfield, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue.
"It might be part of a catheter to continuously monitor blood glucose for diabetics," Porterfield said. "And it might have many other applications, including basic scientific research to study diseases and biological processes."
The tetherball design lends itself to sensing applications, Fisher said.
"That's because the sensing portion of the system extends out pretty far from the rest of the device so that it can more easily come into contact with target molecules," he said. "It doesn't have to wait for those target molecules to diffuse down all the way to the surface and can move into other regions within the range of the tether for enhanced sensing. "
Findings are detailed in a paper appearing in the January issue of the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano. The paper, which will be featured on the journal's cover, was written by Jonathan Claussen, a doctoral student in agricultural and biological engineering; Aaron Franklin, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering; Aeraj ul Haque, a doctoral student in agricultural and biological
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