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. 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. 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 date||8/1/09 → 7/31/13|
- NSF-ENG-ECCS: Division of Electrical Communications Systems (ECS): $400,000.00