As research is progressing in understanding human diseases, it turns out that many conditions have related biomarkers that show up in the blood and other body fluids. Being able to continuously monitor for the presence of disease biomarkers outside a clinical setting may allow for early detection of cancer and other diseases. Researchers at Rutgers University are now reporting in journal Lab on a Chip on a new barcoding technique for tagging microparticles that is electronic in nature, rather than optical or plasmonic, that can be used within small mobile devices that are not tied to a pathology lab.
Optical and plasmonic barcoding requires relatively large instruments, such as microscopes, to spot the tags that become attached to target biomarkers. The barcodes that were developed at Rutgers rely on electrical impedance to signal their presence, something that can be detected using sensors that should be small enough for integration into wearable devices.
The technology relies on not so widely known electrical phenomena, but which has resulted in “tunable nano-capacitors on the surface of micro-spheres, effectively modulating the frequency dependent dielectric properties of the spheres allowing one bead barcode to be distinguished from another,” according to the study abstract.
A bit more detail from Lab on a Chip:
Nanoelectronic barcoding uses a well-known, but unexplored electromagnetic phenomenon of micro-particles: the Clausius–Mossotti (CM) factor spectrum of a Janus particle (JP) shifts depending on the zeta (wall) potential of the metallic half of the microsphere, and the fact that the complex impedance spectrum of a particle directly corresponds to the CM factor spectrum. A one-to-one correspondence will be established between each biomarker and the corresponding engineered microsphere.
Study in journal Lab on a Chip: Top-down fabrication meets bottom-up synthesis for nanoelectronic barcoding of microparticles…
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