Research scientists at Michigan State University are developing nano-biosensors that work like molecular transistors that are triggered by the presence of certain pathogens.
“With embedded forward error-correction function in biosensors, with the result that our multi-array biosensor not only can detect multiple pathogens simultaneously, but also could correct for errors induced by artifacts in biosensors and environment, thus increasing the accuracy and reliability of biosensors” Shantanu Chakrabartty explains to Nanowerk. “In our recent work we have demonstrated that we can successfully construct basic logic circuits (AND and OR) using computational primitives inherent in antigen-antibody interaction. The operation of these logic gates relies on selective conjugation of polyaniline (PANI) nanowires with an antigen-antibody complex. We have also developed corresponding electrical models for these logic gates which can be now be used in computer-aided design of biosensors.”
Chakrabartty, an Assistant Professor and Director of the Adaptive Integrated Microsystems Laboratory at Michigan State University, led the work that has been reported in a recent paper in Nanotechnology (“Fundamental building blocks for molecular biowire based forward error-correcting biosensors”) where he, together with first author Yang Liu and Associate Professor Evangelyn C. Alocilja describes the fabrication, characterization and modeling of fundamental logic gates that can be used for designing biosensors with FEC.
Chakrabartty says that there exists an extensive body of literature documenting how proteins can perform logical operations. “However, to our knowledge, this work is one of the first attempts to build biosensor encoders based onforward error-correcting principles. The fundamental building blocks are equivalent to bio-molecular transistors whose properties change due to presence or absence of pathogens. In the future, we will interface the transistor array with a silicon processor which can decode the encoded biosensor signals.”
The researchers constructed AND logic gates by cascading B. cereus and E. coli antibodies, whereas OR logic gates have been fabricated by homogeneously mixing and dispensing of antibodies. The immunosensor logic gates utilize conductive polyaniline nanowire as the transducer in conjunction with specific antigen-antibody binding.
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