Thin Membrane Transducer (22102/23074)
Northwestern´’´s Thin Membrane Transducer (TMT) invention is an ultra sensitive biosensor. The TMT has significant advantages over the cantilevered biosensor – another approach that has been previously implemented:
Highly Sensitive: The TMT detection sensitivity is on the order of a picomolar (10-12 molar) with capability in the sub-picomolar range. Low-Cost and Compact: The TMT does not require optical detection. The more sensitive cantilevered biosensors do require optical detection, which is costly and bulky. Low Detection Time: The TMT can quickly detect reactions, whereas a cantilevered biosensor requires time to permit fluid disturbances to settle-down. Multiple Detection: The TMT can easily detect multiple chemical reactions and molecules. A cantilevered biosensor can also detect multiple chemical reactions, but only through a complicated process. Linearity and dynamic range: This can be easily adjusted for the TMT. Adaptable: The TMT can use a variety of membrane materials. There are two distinct embodiments of this invention. The following schematic presents the case where pressure is applied underneath to maintain stress upon the membrane. Another case does not rely upon maintaining pressure underneath the membrane. In either case, the gas or fluid solution presents molecules that react on the top surface of the membrane. The reaction changes the surface stress, which in turn deflects the membrane upward or downward as shown. A capacitor, fully isolated from the solution, is calibrated to measure the deflection due to surface stress placed upon the membrane.
APPLICATIONS: Although the TMT was invented for application as a bio-molecule and chemical sensor, it can also serve in a variety of applications where a highly sensitive sensor or actuator is required. Some examples include pressure sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, micro-pumps, and image sensors.
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT:The inventors demonstrated highly sensitive, label-free detection of a bioaffinity reaction (biotinstreptavidin). Figure 2 shows that when streptavidin (10aM) was added, the capacitance exponentially decreased over time due to membrane deformation by compressive surface stress produced by the chemical reaction. Steady state was reached in less than 5 minutes. A patent application has been filed.
Junghoon Lee, Jaehyun Chung, and Kyong-Hoon Lee
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