Scientists at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI and institutional collaborators have developing hypersensitive sensory transducers which could result in ultrasensitive control in biomedicine and other spheres. The results are published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
These sensors use Fourier nano transducers, monolayer architectures of gold nanoparticles arranged on the surface as nano-periodic structures in a manner that their illumination leads to a plasmon disturbance in the metal system. These transducers can concentrate the electric field of a light wave in a super-thin layer, thus obtaining information about its optic properties in the form of specially coded correlations, or ratios between light wave phases, before further transmitting it in reflected or diffracted light rays.
Dr. Andrei Kabashin, scientific director of the Institute of Engineering Physics for Biomedicine at the MEPhI National Research Nuclear University, said in a statement, "Such light wave field concentration, coding, and phase information transition helps arrive at the unprecedented sensitivity of a whole system to changes in the optical properties of super-thin layers, including atomic layers of 2-D-materials and molecular layers of biomaterials on the surface of biosensors."
Scientists believe the hypersensitivity could produce a new methodology to detect the antibiotic chloramphenicol, widely used in the medicine and food industries. Detection of this substance is vital to regulating the concentration of this chemical in foods, as it leads to oncological diseases and cardio dysfunctions.
The research has demonstrated that Fourier nano transformers boost the chances of detecting the antibiotic a thousand-fold as compared with other approaches. They are predicted to prove effective in a range of spheres—for instance, early diagnoses of dangerous illnesses, as well as ultrasensitive doping control, monitoring the quality of food, and environmental conditions.
In a parallel study, the research group, together with Russian scientists from the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, came up with a unique way of using silicon nanoparticles for cancer diagnostics. As Dr. Kabashin explained, scientists may soon find it possible to "reconsider the problem of bio-imaging for one of the most promising nanomaterials."