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Technology: Nano-tetherball Biosensor

Researchers: Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center in Discovery Park at Purdue University

Purpose: To detect blood glucose more precisely than any biosensors in development; potential to detect other types of biological molecules

Early adopter(s): Still in research and development phase

What it does: The device, which resembles a tiny cube-shaped tetherball, acts as a sensor anchored to electronic circuitry by a nanotube, which acts as both a tether and ultrathin wire to conduct electrical signals. The sensing portion extends out from the device to more easily come into contact with target molecules, say the Purdue researchers.

Potential Improvement: Being able to sense small quantities while at the same time detecting a wide range of concentrations typically is mutually exclusive. The advanced characteristics of this system could be adapted as an all-purpose sensor platform.

What's Next: The researchers have filed a patent application. The device could be used as part of a catheter to continuously monitor blood glucose for diabetics. May also be used to study diseases and biological processes.

Kathryn Mackenzie

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