Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Materials Research
A Focus On History

MF03.13.03: Zeptomolar biosensing – a new frontier

    In my lab I try to detect gases at trace amounts with a goal micromolar concentrations. To my surprise, I stumbled upon a presentation titled: “Sensing at the Zeptomolar Concentration Level with Large Area Bioelectronic Interfaces”, by postdoctoral researcher Eleonora Macchia from the University of Bari. Trying to see what I could apply to my field, I learned that, not only can they detect single protein molecules, but they also designed a practical sensing device that can detect pathogens in humans.

    Using SiMoT technology, the research team was able to perform immunometric measurements for organisms that cause diseases such as the COVID virus. Because their interface is designed to work with non-invasive samples of a patient (such as saliva), the data can be analyzed by their bioelectronic sensor with ease. This sensor then sends the results to the patient through their smart phone and can identify real-time health problems, without the need of outside assistance.

    Inspired by systems found in the anatomy of different animals, the team of researchers increased their sensor density. By doing so, they amplified the electronic signal because of the now larger contact area for the sample within the sensor. Using digital analytical chemistry, it was possible to bypass the calibration procedures, therefore reducing the approximations used and applying more precise counting methods for pathogen concentration at the zeptomolar range (10-21g/L). Their results further advance the fields of healthcare diagnosis and electronics while simultaneously meeting the standards set by the World Health Organization.

    If you are interested in learning more about flexible and large area electronics, click here to view the full session of presentations given. Maybe there's an electronic application that can help your research as well.

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