Project Overview

NIRT: Molecular Electronic Devices with Carbon-based Electrodes on Active Substrates

# 0707748
Colin Nuckolls (Principal Investigator)
Kenneth Shepard (Co-Principal Investigator)
Qiao Lin (Co-Principal Investigator)
Philip Kim (Co-Principal Investigator)
Matthew Francis (Co-Principal Investigator)

The objective of this research is to develop a new class of nanoscale biosensors based on molecular electronic devices that utilize carbon nanotube and graphene-based electrodes. The approach centers around using chemistry to incorporate biological macromolecules as recognition domains on molecular bridges and to further develop these molecular-electronic devices as sensors. These biosensors will be fabricated on active complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor microelectronic substrates to provide true single-molecular sensitivities with potentially submicrosecond temporal resolution.

The intellectual merit of the proposed effort is centered on the sensitivity and specificity that can be achieved using this approach. Because these sensors do not rely on temporal or ensemble averaging to achieve sensitivity, they monitor individual events at a true single-molecule level, providing measurement of rich stochastic dynamics of probe-target interactions. In particular, the research effort involves new scientific investigations involving nucleic acid hybridization, protein-protein interactions, and protein conformation changes with single-molecule sensitivity, yielding new insight into processes such as folding and catalysis. These highly integrated devices will have broad practical application in medical diagnostics (genomics and proteomics), drug discovery, and environmental monitoring.

This integrated program of research and education has broad impact in training graduate and undergraduate students in a cross-disciplinary research environment. The research has broad impact to a range of science and technology including medicine, pharmacology, semiconductors, homeland security, and environmental monitoring. Significant effort will be made for K-12 outreach by systematically training highly motivated high school students within the program and also enhancing the interaction with local K-12 educators.

Source: NSF