Novel Nanofluidics-Based Sensor System

Period of Performance: 08/19/2008 - 08/30/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

CFD Research Corp.
701 McMillian Way NW Suite D
Huntsville, AL 35806
Principal Investigator


We propose to develop a nanofluidics-based biosensor system for detection and quantitation of biological threat agents. The proposed system will harness the potential of recently discovered nanofluidic phenomena, not possible in microfluidic/capillary systems, to enhance rapid and sensitive sample preparation and detection. Specifically, we will develop a nanofluidics-based device to separate and concentrate small volumes of genomic sample. This will be coupled to a carbon nanotube-based, electrochemical sensor featuring high sensitivity and specificity along with easy integration and read-out for field deployment purposes. In Phase I, using multi-physics simulations, preliminary concepts for DNA separation and concentration using nanofluidic channels were developed. Designs were fabricated using volume-production friendly standard lithography techniques. Electrokinetic sample injection and separation in these nanochannels was successfully demonstrated. During Phase II, the nanofluidic pre-concentration and separation components will be further developed and tested with a variety of genomic samples. In parallel, we will also develop and characterize a label-free, highly sensitive electrochemical DNA sensor employing a nanocomposite layer of conductive polymers and carbon nano-tubes. The preparation and sensing components will subsequently be integrated, ultimately leading to a compact and portable, nanofluidic-based biological threat agent detector that will consume little power, be ruggedly constructed, use small sample volumes, and be UAV-mountable. A multidisciplinary team with proven expertise in micro-/nano-design and fabrication, electrochemical sensing and biology has been assembled.