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Ultrasensitive biosensor promising for medical diagnostics
Date:5/15/2012

the cantilever is a transistor, which is the sensor's electrical part.

In other mechanical biosensors, a laser measures the vibrating frequency or deflection of the cantilever, which changes depending on what type of biomolecule lands on the cantilever. Instead of using a laser, the new sensor uses the transistor to measure the vibration or deflection.

The sensor maximizes sensitivity by putting both the cantilever and transistor in a "bias." The cantilever is biased using an electric field to pull it downward as though with an invisible string.

"This pre-bending increases the sensitivity significantly," Jain said.

The transistor is biased by applying a voltage, maximizing its performance as well.

"You can make the device sensitive to almost any molecule as long as you configure the sensor properly," Alam said.

A key innovation is the elimination of a component called a "reference electrode," which is required for conventional electrical biosensors but cannot be miniaturized, limiting practical applications.

"Eliminating the need for a reference electrode enables miniaturization and makes it feasible for low-cost, point-of-care applications in doctors' offices," Alam said.

A U.S. patent application has been filed for the concept.


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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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