Materials Research Project
This work builds on Dmitri Litvinov’s world-leading expertise in magnetic disk drive technology to make a biosensing platform with extreme sensititivity, and the advantages of ruggedness and low-cost electronics fabrication. Applications include molecular cancer diagnostics using tiny needle biopsies, and senstive detection of biomarkers and disease agents. An array of GMR magnetic sensors, each vastly smaller than a human hair, will be used to detect the capture of sub-50 nm magnetic labels in the presence of targets.
The sensitivity of the device to low-abundance gene expression or proteins is expected to be unprecedentedly high, potentially at the single-molecule level. Data quality will be unusually good because non-specifically bound magnetic labels can be “pulled off” using a magnetic field source.
A practical sensor array could potentially achieve extremely high densities of individually-addressable sensors (up to 100 million per square millimeter).