A Biosensor With Spider-Sense

Researchers in South Korea have developed a biosensor that has detection capability 20 times faster than existing ones.

AsianScientist (May 5, 2017) – Researchers at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) have developed a biosensor inspired by spider webs. The results, published in NPG Asia Materials, describe a biosensor platform that is 20 times faster than existing biosensors.

The sensing capability of a biosensor is determined by the resolution of the sensor as well as the movement and reaction rate of molecules. Many research groups have been improving the resolution through the development of nanomaterials but there has been limited progress in improving sensitivity due to the low diffusion transport of biomolecules toward the sensing region.

To overcome this limitation, a team led by Professor Kim CheolGi used a magnetic field to speed up the movement of biomolecules such as proteins and DNA. The biomolecules were labeled with superparamagnetic particles, making it easy to control their movement with an external magnetic field and detect them with an ultra-sensitive magnetic sensor.

The research team developed a new biosensor platform using a spider web-shaped micro-magnetic pattern. It improved the sensing ability of the biosensor as it increased the ability to collect low-density biomolecules by attracting biomolecules labeled with the superparamagnetic particles to the sensing area.

“We placed a spider web-shaped micro-magnetic pattern which was designed to move the superparamagnetic particles toward the center of the biosensor and a high sensitivity biosensor on the platform. When a rotating magnetic field is applied to a spider web-shaped magnetic pattern, it can attract biomolecules labeled with superparamagnetic particles faster to the sensor. The speed of the movement is very fast and it can detect the subject 20 times faster than the diffusion method,” said study first author, PhD student Lim Byeonghwa.

The research team also succeeded in monitoring the biomolecules linked to the superparamagnetic particles at a distance from the sensing area by utilizing the biosensor platform. In addition, the team has identified that the superparamagnetic particles not only play the role of biomolecular cargo for transportation, but also act as labels for the sensor to indicate the location of biomolecules.

“We are planning to use this platform for early diagnosis as well as recurrence diagnosis of diseases such as cancer,” added Kim.

The article can be found at: Lim (2017) Concentric Manipulation and Monitoring of Protein-loaded Superparamagnetic Cargo using Magnetophoretic Spider Web.


Source: Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology.
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