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New biosensor microchip could speed up drug development, Stanford researchers say

can be an important factor with numerous medications.

"I am surprised at the sensitivity they achieved," Utz said. "They are detecting on the order of between 10 and 1,000 molecules and that to me is quite surprising."

The nanosensor is based on the same type of sensor used in computer hard drives, Wang said.

"Because our chip is completely based on existing microelectronics technology and procedures, the number of sensors per area is highly scalable with very little cost," he said.

Although the chips used in the work described in the Nature Nanotechnology paper had a little more than 1,000 sensors per square centimeter, Wang said it should be no problem to put tens of thousands of sensors on the same footprint.

"It can be scaled to over 100,000 sensors per centimeter, without even pushing the technology limits in microelectronics industry," he said.

Wang said he sees a bright future for increasingly powerful nanosensor arrays, as the technology infrastructure for making such nanosensor arrays is in place today.

"The next step is to marry this technology to a specific drug that is under development," Wang said. "That will be the really killer application of this technology."


Contact: Louis Bergeron
Stanford University

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