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Nano Sensors and Detectors-Their Applications (Nems)

Nano Sensors and Detectors-Their Applications (Nems)

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Published by Narendran Nari

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Published by: Narendran Nari on Jun 17, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Nanotechnology is an extremely powerfulemerging technology, which is expected to havea substantial impact on medical technology nowand in the future. The potential impact of novel Nano medical applications on disease diagnosis,therapy, and prevention is foreseen to changehealth care in a fundamental way.Biomedical nanotechnology presentsrevolutionary opportunities in the fight againstmany diseases. An area with near-term potentialis detecting molecules associated with diseasessuch as cancer, diabetes mellitus,neurodegenerative diseases, as well as detectingmicroorganisms and viruses associated withinfections, such as pathogenic bacteria, fungi,and HIV viruses. Macroscale devicesconstructed from exquisitely sensitive nanoscalecomponents, such as micro-/nanocantilevers,nanotubes, and nanowires, can detect even therarest biomolecular signals at a very early stageof the disease. Development of these devices isin the proof-of-concept phase, though enteringthe market may be sooner than expected.However, a different approach of molecular sensing
in vivo
involves the use of implantablesensors which is still hampered by unwanted biofoulingimpairing long-term stability of continuoussensors caused by blood components and factorsof the immune system. Nanotechnology mightyield Nano-structured surfaces preventing thisnon-specific protein adsorption.
A biosensor is generally defined as ameasurement system that consists of a probewith a sensitive biological recognition element,or bioreceptor, a physicochemical detectocomponent, and a transducer in between.A biosensor consists of usually threecomponents1) BIORECEPTORS 2) TRANSDUCERS3) DETECTORSBio receptors– It is a sensitive biologicalelement . The interaction of an analyte, e.g. a particular chemical component, virus or micro-organism, with the bioreceptor is designed togenerate an effect picked up by a transducer,which converts the information into ameasurable effect by the detector, for instancean electric signal. Bioreceptors are used because of their specificity. They enablemeasurement with minimum interference fromother components in complex mixtures. The bioreceptor is a biological molecule (e.g., anantibody/antigen, DNA, protein, or enzyme), or 
a living biological system (e.g., cells, tissues,or whole organisms) that utilises a biochemicalmechanism of recognition. The samplingcomponent of a biosensor contains a bio-sensitive layer that can either contain bioreceptors or be made of bioreceptorscovalently attached to the transducer.Transducer 
Transduction can be accomplished by optical, electrochemical, and mass detectionmethods. A Nano biosensor or Nano sensor is a biosensor that has dimensions on thenanometre .size scale. Nanosensors could provide the tools to investigate important biological processes at the cellular level
The three types of Nano sensors with medicalapplication possibilities are a) Cantilever arraysensors and b) Nanotube sensors c) Nanowiresensors.
a)Cantilever array sensors
Micro fabricated cantilever array sensors areused as ultra-sensitive mechanical sensorsconverting (biochemical or physical processesinto a recordable signal inmicroelectromechanical systems (MEMS) or nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS).Cantilevers are typically rectangular-shapedsilicon bars. The unique feature omicrocantilevers is their ability to undergo bending due to molecular adsorption or  bindinginduced changes in surface tension.
Applications of Cantilever array sensors
Cantilever sensors for diagnosis of diabetes mellitus
Medical applications of cantilever-based sensorshave been proposed for early diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and can improve blood glucosemonitoring using small and ultra-sensitiveanalytical platforms .In patients with diabetesmellitus, ketones are produced due to thedeterioration of blood insulin concentrations.Acetone is one of these ketones which isexcreted in urine or expired as vapour inexhaled air. Disposable test kits are used todetect acetone in urine. Acetone in exhaled air can only be detected by the physician as a putridsmell without any quantification. Small amountsof acetone in a patient’s breath can be detected by cantilever array sensor technique which mayattribute to early diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
Cantilever sensors for bacteria, fungi,viruses
The Devices have also been developed to detect bacteria, fungal spores and viruses. Theinteraction between specific antibodies, foinstance antibodies to
 Escherichia coli
,immobilised on the surface of the cantilever,and antigens on cell membrane surface results inadditional mass loading detected by the device.The detection sensitivity is in the order of asingle bacterium corresponding to a mass of ~1
 pg, single fungal spore, and single vacciniavirus particlesCorresponding to a mass of ~10 fg . Cantilever arrays allow detection of vital functionalisedfungal spores
in situ
within ~4 hours, which ismore than ten times faster than current applied procedures for fungal detection.A NEMS device with molecular recognition for virus particle detection has been developed,allowing improvement of the detectionsensitivity up to 6 bound baculovirus particles.Once these devices with on-chip antibody-basedrecognition are integrated with sampleconcentrators, Nano mechanical oscillators may prove to present a viable strategy for ultra-sensitive detection of airborne bacteria, fungi,and virus particles.
iii)Cantilever sensors for cancer diagnosis
Cantilever arrays can aid cancer diagnosis andcan be engineered to bind to moleculesassociated with cancer, such as DNA sequences,single nucleotide polymorphisms, and proteins.When the cancer-associated molecules bind tothe cantilevers, changes in surface tension causethe cantilever to bend. By monitoring whether or not the cantilevers are bending, the presenceof cancer-associated molecules can bedemonstrated. Significant bending should beevident when the molecules are present in verylow DNA concentrations. The mass detectionlimitation of NEMS cantilevers is improved tothe enumeration of a single DNA moleculeconsisting of ~1600 base pairs and weighing~1000 kD, which is ~1 ag (atto (a) = 10-18).The cantilever technology could be useful inhigh-throughput Nano mechanical genomicanalysis and proteomics detecting earlymolecular events in the development of cancer.The specificity and sensitivity of these arrays donot yet offer substantial advantages over conventional detection methods, although theuse of nanoparticle probes might allow foindividual single-pair mismatch discrimination.Rather, the breakthrough potential of micro- and Nano mechanical cantilevers resides in their extraordinary multiplexing capabilities. It isrealistic to envision arrays of thousands of cantilevers constructed on individualcentimeter-sized chips, enabling thesimultaneous reading of proteomic profiles or,ultimately, the entire proteome.

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