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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Nano-electromechanical systems for biomedical applications


The aim of the project will be the development of biochip plailbtms based on micro- and nanotechnology for functional genomics and proteomics. The linai microsystems will be composed of biological nanosensors, optical and electric transducers, microfluidic s and CMOS circuitry for signal processing. Integration of these units will result in both miniaturization of biochip platforms and an increase in the sensitivity of the assays performed. The resulting Nanobiochips will present several advantages, like low reagent consumption, short analysis time, real-time monitoring and high sensitivity. Also, the biological nanosensors will allow direct detection, avoiding the problems associated with fluorescent and radioactive labeling used nowadays. The portable biose nsor microsystem will be mainly applied in the biomedical field, where mobility implies a significant improvement for health monitoring. Among the applications are the detection of combined markers for diagnosis and follow-up of prostate, breast and endome trial cancers. The key element of the biosensor microsystem for specific biological detection will be the nanomechunical response of an array of micro- nanocantilevers. Briefly, the operation principle in pharmacogenctic applications is as follows. Nucleic acids are covalently immobilized on the surface of a micro- nanoeantilever. When the micro- nanocantilevers are exposed to a medical sample, in which a nucleic acid with the complementary nucleotide sequence is present, this will hybridise with (he immobi lized nucleic acid. This will give rise to a change of surface stress and mass of the micro- nanoeantilever that is translated into a nanomechanical response, i.e. a cantilever bending and a change of its resonant properties that can be measured. Also, ch anges in surface stress can be measured directly through integrated piezoresistors in the cantilevers.

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