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ENLIGHTENED Report Summary

Project ID: 616251
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: France

Mid-Term Report Summary - ENLIGHTENED (Nanophotonic Nanomechanical Mass Spectrometry for Biology and Health)

The main objective of the project Enlightened is the development of a new mass spectrometry system allowing the detection and identification of traces of biological species for, for example biomedical applications. The novel aspects are three-fold: firstly, the system architecture will transfer the sample in solution towards a chamber in vacuum with great efficiency without the need for ioniozation as is the case with current mass specctrometry techniques. Secondly, the detector in this chamber will be nanomechanical resonators capturing the entire particle beam area ; interaction with this detector (position, mass of the landing particle, inducing motion...) will be mediated by light only. Lastly, a large effort will be dedicated to the understanding of the limiting source of noise of the nanoresonator in order to improve its limit of detection.
At project mid-term, the system architecture has been validated: massive biological species close to impossible to analyze with conventional mass spectrometers have been measured. Nanomechanical resonators designed to be transduced by light have been fabricated and tested and have shown excellent performance. They will be tested as mass detectors in the system shortly. Lastly, we have shown that the limit of detection of most nanoresonators in the field was several orders of magnitude away from the commonly accepted theoretical understanding, which has attracted much attention (

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