Plenary Lecture: Nanowire Nanoelectronic Devices for Detection of and Interfacing to Biological Systems

February 25, 2007

E-Separation Solutions

Sunday afternoon's plenary lecture at Pittcon 2007 was given by Charles M. Lieber and was titled "Nanowire Nanoelectric Devices for Detection of and Interfacing to Biological Systems."

Sunday afternoon’s plenary lecture at Pittcon 2007 was given by Charles M. Lieber and was titled “Nanowire Nanoelectric Devices for Detection of and Interfacing to Biological Systems.”

Lieber currently holds a joint appointment in Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His research interests center on the field of molecular nanotechnology, specifically the synthesis and characterization of the physical properties of carbon nanotubes and nanowires.

In his lecture, Lieber discussed the unique characteristics of the nanowire approach. His group uses a bottom-up paradigm in which a limited set of building blocks is used to create larger structures. In this case, nanowires and nanoclusters are used to build small devices and circuits that are then used to build integrated nanosystems for electronics, photonics, and medical/biological applications.

The structure resulting from this approach constitutes aGe/Si core/shell nanowire field-effect transistor that can be used for sensing, detection, and interfacing to biological materials. The advantage is that the sizes of the nanoelectronic systems are comparable to the sizes of the biological materials that are being detected. According to Lieber, the devices are ideal for signal transduction.

The nanowire devices can be used as multiplex detectors as well as for single-component detection. Multiplex detectors of this nature possibly could be used for applications such as cancer detection and undiluted blood serum analysis.

Lieber sees a possible future commercial use for the nanowire devices in clinical diagnostics. Hundreds of tests could be performed on a single drop of blood using a multiplexed nanowire array.