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Biosensors are sensing elements equipped with biological components. They are thus detection elements (sensors) for measuring e.g. antibodies, enzymes, nucleic acids, organelles or cells. Biosensors also measure synthetic substances such as aptamers, molecularly imprinted polymers, macrocycles or synthetic peptides. They are used in biotechnological measurement technology.
A German university now developed a manufacturing process that makes small, compact biosensors faster and up to ten times mor sensitive than conventional sensors. They can be created affordably in a CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor)-compatible manufacturing process.
The sensor measures miniscule voltage potentials using a field-effect transistor and crossed nanowire structures. The field-effect transistor is surrounded by an impermeable border. Additionally, two crossed Si nanowires made of semiconducting materials, each with a source and drain contact with a means to apply voltage between each source and drain contact, are connected. The nanowires are insulated from the sample material by a dielectric layer along their surface. This layer has at least one attachment point (e.g., for functionalization layers) that can trap charge carriers on the nanowires or, conversely, release them. The two nanowires each have a triangular cross-section and are supplied with voltage from the substrate, allowing for the manufacture of a highly sensitive probe/biosensor when functionalization layers for the appropriate molecule are applied to the nanowires.
The university is looking for companies from the sensor industry, especially biosensor manufacturers or manufacturers of diagnostic devices, who are interested to make use of the invention within a licensing agreement. This can be combined with joint research if the company wishes to bring the invention to market readiness or to a higher technology level together with the university.Advantages & innovations This new method allows the manufacture of biosensors that are faster and up to 10 times more sensitive than conventional ones. Other advantages are: - CMOS-compatible - Small design - Allow real-time measuring - Suitable for low-cost measuring applications
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