An integrated hybrid system for environmental health applications

Project: Research project

Project Details


Science and technology marvels over the past five decades have often been attributed to the increasing human capability to understand and to control matter at the micro-, nano-, and molecular scales. Triumphs include sequencing of the entire human genome, which reads the individual DNA bases with a length scale less than 1 nm, and silicon-based microelectronics that create transistors with a dimension on the order of tens of nm.[1-6] Yet it also becomes increasingly apparent that many of todays complex problems require hybrid and integrative approaches involving different scientific disciplines and technologies at multi-length scales. One example is the real-time detection of trace chemicals in a complex environment with a miniaturized device (Figure 1).[7-9] Such a system is important because maintaining a healthy population, a clean environment, a safe food industry, and a secure society all demand sensitive, fast, and reliable sensors.[7] A common strategy in sensor development is to rely on specific binding between a probe and a target molecule, or so called molecular recognition, a phenomenon that occurs on the molecular scale.[8-10] Recent advances in nano-structured materials and optoelectronic devices have led to the sensitivity of detecting a single or a few molecules.[8,10-22] Microelectronics and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have provided new sensing platforms for fast and sensitive conversion of a molecular binding event into an electronic signal. [23-26] Additionally, new data analysis algorithms and wireless communications are enabling tools for sensor development.[11] In spite of all these exciting capabilities, the task of detecting traces of chemicals in a complex environment, containing thousands of interference chemicals and substances, remains a difficult challenge.
Effective start/end date8/1/097/31/13


  • NSF-ENG-ECCS: Division of Electrical Communications Systems (ECS): $400,000.00


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