Ultra-sensitive electrical biosensor based on Tunnel-FET design beats conventional field effect transistors
April 17, 2012 // Julien Happich
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have come up with a new quantum mechanical-based biosensor that could detect biomolecules at ultra-low concentrations, from instant point-of-care disease diagnostics, to detection of trace substances for forensics and security.
Kaustav Banerjee, director of the Nanoelectronics Research Lab and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCSB, and PhD student Deblina Sarkar have proposed a methodology for beating the fundamental limits of a conventional Field-Effect-Transistor (FET) by designing a Tunnel-FET (T-FET) sensor that is faster and four orders of magnitude more sensitive. The details of their study appeared in the April 2, 2012 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters. Biosensors based on conventional FETs have been gaining momentum as a viable technology for the medical, forensic, and security industries since they are cost-effective compared to optical detection procedures. Such biosensors allow for scalability and label-free detection of biomolecules removing the step and expense of labeling target molecules with fluorescent dye.
The principle behind any FET-based biosensor is similar to the FETs used in digital circuit applications, except that the physical gate is removed and the work of the gate is carried out by charged versions of the biomolecules it intends to detect. For immobilizing these biomolecules, the dielectric surface enclosing the semiconductor is coated with specific receptors, which can bind to the target biomolecules a process called conjugation.
"The thermionic emission current injection mechanism of conventional FET based biosensors puts fundamental limitations on their maximum sensitivity and minimum detection time," said Banerjee, who conceived the idea in 2009 while studying the design of tunnel-FETs for ultra energy-efficient integrated electronics.
"We overcome these fundamental limitations by making Quantum Physics join hands with Biology" explained Sarkar, the lead author of the paper. "The key concept behind our device is a current injection mechanism that leverages biomolecule conjugation to bend the energy bands in the channel region, leading to the quantum-mechanical phenomenon of band-to-band tunneling. The result is an abrupt increase in current which is instrumental in increasing the sensitivity and reducing the response time of the proposed sensor."All news
Belgium spin-off takes photonic IC design to the mainstream
September 16, 2014
Imec's investment arm Fidimec and the Flemish spin-off investment fund SOFI I are investing EUR 340k in Founded last June, ...
Tablets to provide growth over flat PC market
Android One debuts in India, ignites next 5 billion battle
ZF swallows TRW Automotive
Is rapid charging batteries really so damaging?
Canadian startup mutualizes iBeacon deployment costs
September 15, 2014
Bluetooth Smart-enabled applications crop up everyday, from personalized remote sensors to proximity detection for home automation, ...
U.S. foundry agrees to help expand China's MEMS ecosystem
Moore's law has no end in sight
OLED panel smashes luminous efficacy and lifetime records
- Flexible and Low Power Driving of Solenoid Coils
- How to Protect & Monetize Android Apps
- Power Modules: The New Super Power
- Flexible Performance for Network Security Appliances
InterviewCEO interview: AMS' Laney on driving a sensor-driven business
Kirk Laney, CEO of Austrian mixed-signal chip and sensor company AMS, wants to leverage the opportunity that technology affords to create new markets for sensors and sensor interfaces.
Filter WizardCheck out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.
Linear video channel
READER OFFERRead more
This month, Trinamic Motion Control is offering you to win one of four TMCM-1043 development kits for its highly integrated, NEMA 17-compatible TMCM-1043 stepDancer stepper motor module.
Offering designers an easy-to-use PC-based GUI that allows one-click modification of motor drive current, micro-stepping and other key parameters, the intuitive kits are custom designed and developed for...MORE INFO AND LAST MONTH' WINNERS...
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.