Capacity Building for microsensors for medical applications and for biosensors
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Project duration: From 2013-06-01 to 2016-11-30 Total cost: EUR 2 713 017 EU contribution: EUR 2 422 076 NIRDTP is currently investigating materials for medical sensing applications, such as acoustic microsensors based on nano- and microwires and implantable magnetic microsensors based on nanostructured magnetic materials, e.g. nanocrystalline microwires. Furthermore, NIRDTP is actively involved in the development of methods for measurement, analysis and operation at the nanoscale to develop biosensors for the detection of biomolecules and for applications in nanomedicine.
Research Topic A: Microsensors for Medical Applications
NIRDTP’s research capacity building activities will focus on two sub-topics of microsensors for medical applications: acoustic microsensors based on nano- and microwires for medical applications (A1) and implantable magnetic microsensors based on nanostructured materials for medical applications (A2).
A1 Acoustic microsensors based on nano- and microwires for medical applications
This sub-topic is a complex, multidisciplinary subject situated at the interface between physics, materials science, electrochemistry, electronics and medicine, which aims to develop acoustic microsensors based on nano- and microwires for use in cochlear implants. The magnetostrictive nano- and microwires represent the active element of the microsensor, to be activated by acoustic signals. Certain frequencies of acoustic signal determine the resonance of the nano/microwires which, at its turns, determine the generation of a localized magnetic field which is subsequently transformed/transduced into an electrical signal by some magnetoresistive sensors. The electrical signal generated by the acoustic microsensors depends on the length, diameter, density per area unit and composition of the nano- or microwires. A single microsensor or an array of microsensors can be used to reproduce as much as possible the cilia from the inner ear.
A2 Implantable magnetic microsensors based on nanostructured materials for medical applications
NIRDTP is deeply involved in the development of innovative microsensor prototypes employing nanostructured magnetic microwires as sensitive elements for biology and medical applications. Their innovative character arises from both the solution offered – the materials and operating principles (giant magneto-impedance effect, smart antenna) – as well as from the envisaged medical applications of the microsensors, e.g. detection of extremely low biomagnetic signals with applications in magneto-cardiography, and the detection and remote monitoring of mechanical stress and temperature from implants and organs.
Research Topic B: Biosensors based on Nanoparticles and Barcode Nanowires
NIRDTP’s research capacity building activities will focus on two sub-topics of biosensors: sensors based on nanosized detection elements (nanoparticles) for applications in nanomedicine (B1) and biosensors based on multilayered nanowires (barcode nanowires) for the detection of biomolecules (B2).
B1 Sensors based on nanosized detection elements for applications in nanomedicine
Nanoparticles, having special particularities, present unique magnetic properties, which could be exploited for (bio)detection. The surface chemistry represents an important parameter for the control of the nanoparticles physical and chemical properties. Together with decreasing nanoparticle size, surface effects become very important thanks to the increase of the volume ratio of the surface atoms related to the entire particle. Understanding the magnetic behaviour versus surface chemical interactions is important for the development of biomedical techniques which use magnetic nanoparticles. The surface effects also have an impact onto developing the magnetic nanoparticles modified with a bio-ligand for biomedical applications. On the other hand, such small magnetic particles represents a big challenge for the sensing capacity because the magnetic moments of the particles are very low considering their limited volume, relatively large surface and significant thermal activation of their magnetic moments (the consequence is the superparamagnetic behaviour).
B2 Biosensors based on multilayered nanowires for the detection of biomolecules
In the last years, many efforts were made to implement or to enhance the biodetection methods based on metallic nanowires. A number of nanowires, e.g. Au, Ag or Pt non-magnetic nanowires are currently tested for target biomolecules detection, mainly DNA and antibodies. The principle of working is based on optical detection. Recently, the investigations shown that it is possible to detect simultaneously by optical methods more target biomolecules at once using multilayered nanowires. Each layer composing the multilayered nanowires will act differently, acting as a specific code and being “read” by a specific technique, identical with the “bar-code” systems used for commercial products identification. If a number of sequences used in the multilayered nanowires will be magnetic, then they can be detected easily in the presence of a magnetic field and used for separation. We will also develop the magnetophoresis method and use it for biomolecules detection.