Researchers at Purdue University have developed a miniature device sensitive enough to detect a single virus particle, an advancement that could have many applications, including environmental-health monitoring and homeland security.
This photo, taken with a scanning electron microscope, shows a miniature "cantilever," a diving board-like beam of silicon that researchers at Purdue University have used to detect a single virus particle weighing about one-trillionth as much as a grain of rice. The work, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is aimed at developing advanced sensors capable of detecting airborne viruses, bacteria and other contaminants. Such sensors will have applications in areas including environmental health monitoring in hospitals and homeland security. (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University)
The device is a tiny "cantilever," a diving board-like beam of silicon that naturally vibrates at a specific frequency. When a virus particle weighing about one-trillionth as much as a grain of rice lands on the cantilever, it vibrates at a different frequency, which was measured by the Purdue researchers.
"Because this cantilever is very small, it is extremely sensitive to added mass, such as the addition of even a single virus particle," said Rashid Bashir, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering.
Emil Venere | Purdue News
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