Russian researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have developed biosensor chips of unprecedented sensitivity based on copper instead of gold. Besides making the device somewhat cheaper, this innovation will facilitate the manufacturing process. The research findings are reported in the journal Langmuir.
Biosensor chips are used by pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs. These chips are also indispensable for studying the kinetics of molecular interactions. Furthermore, they could serve as a basis for chemical analyzers used to find molecular markers of disease and to detect hazardous substances in food or the environment, including leaks from chemical plants, among other things.
The Russian research team from the Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics of MIPT’s Center for Photonics and 2-D Materials has developed a sensing chip based on unconventional materials: copper and graphene oxide. As a result, their device achieves unmatched sensitivity. Its configuration is mostly standard, and therefore compatible with existing commercial biosensors such as those from Biacore, Reichert, BioNavis and BiOptix.
“Our engineering solution is an important step toward developing biological sensors based on photonic and electronic technology,” says Valentyn Volkov, professor of the University of Southern Denmark, who also heads the Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics at MIPT. “By relying on standard manufacturing technologies and combining copper with graphene oxide—a material that has a great potential—we achieve a demonstrably high efficiency. This opens up new avenues for biosensor development.”