Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ultrasensitive optical sensor detects viruses fast

22.01.2007
Handheld device enables ‘point-of-care’ screening

Scientists of the Biophysical Engineering Group of the University of Twente in The Netherlands have developed an ultrasensitive sensor that can be used in a handheld device to, within minutes, detect various viruses and measure their concentration. The sensor could be used to quickly screen people at hospitals, airports and emergency clinics to control outbreaks of diseases such as SARS and the bird flu. All it would take is a tiny sample of saliva, blood, or other body fluid. Dr. Aurel Ymeti and others present their results in February’s issue of Nano Letters. They already caught the attention of MIT’s Technology Review and the Materials Science and Nanotechnology section of Nature.com.


Monochromatic light from a laser source is coupled to a channel waveguide and is guided into four parallel channels. These four channels include one reference channel (4) and three measuring channels (1-3) that are used to monitor different viruses by coating the channels with appropriate antibodies. Upon exiting from these four waveguide channels, the light interferes on a screen generating an interference pattern. Specific virus binding to the antibody coated waveguide surface causes a corresponding phase change that is measured as a change in the interference pattern. Analysis of the interference pattern thus yields information on the amount of bound virus particles on different channels.

The essential innovation in the technique reported in this paper is the combining of an integrated optics interferometric sensor with antibody-antigen recognition approaches to yield a very sensitive, very rapid test for virus detection. The technology is amenable to miniaturization and mass-production, and thus has significant potential to be developed into a handheld, point-of-care device.

The attention this sensor is currently achieving in the international scientific and nanotechnology community can be understood in the light of recent serious virus outbreaks such as SARS and H5N1 bird flu virus. Future viral outbreaks are a major threat to the societal and economic development throughout the world. Therefore a rapid, sensitive, and easy-to-use test for viral infections is essential to prevent and to control such viral pandemics. Furthermore, a compact, portable device is potentially very useful in remote or developing regions without easy access to sophisticated laboratory facilities.

The technique is better than traditional methods such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) because of its speed and ease of use without compromising sensitivity. In principle, with a device such as this, minimal pre-processing of samples is required, and one could imagine having several different, interchangeable, detection modules for rapid detection. It’s also possible to consider configuring the device to detect multiple analytes.

This sensor device is developed during the PhD project of Aurel Ymeti, financed by the STW Dutch Technology Foundation, in collaboration with several companies including Paradocs Group BV, bioMériex BV, and LioniX BV. The research is part of two research institutes within the University of Twente: MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and BMTI Institute for BioMedical Technology. A commercial prototype of this sensor is being developed by a Dutch company.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.utwente.nl
http://pubs3.acs.org/acs/journals/doilookup?in_doi=10.1021/nl062595n

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>