The sensitive and specific detection of enzymes, proteins, DNA or other biomolecules is of great importance for the applications of the next generation in the fields of medicine, life science, biotechnology, biohybrid systems, food and environmental technology.
Conventional diagnostic detection methods require many manual work steps and have to be carried out by qualified personnel in special laboratories. Therefore, these procedures are time-consuming and expensive. In addition, the appropriate instruments are often bulky. The high demand for fast, cost-efficient alternatives and the enormous progress of micro- and nanotechnology have driven the development of miniaturized biosensors forward during the last decades.
Biosensors consist of a biological receptor that the analyte specifically binds to, and a signal converter that converts the bond into a physical measurement size.
At the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS we develop highly sensitive biosensors in the interdisciplinary business unit Biohybrid Systems which are specifically adapted to the requirements of the target application. We develop biosensors with electrical, electrochemical, piezoelectric and optical signal converters. In the field of optical signal converters we use the Fraunhofer IMS developed single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) to detect e.g. a low light intensity in chemiluminescence reactions. Apart from the biosensor development a working focus is the integration of biosensors into microfluidic systems (e.g. Lab-on-Chips (LoCs)) or in biohybrid systems. This is especially interesting for compact analyzers in the area of Point-of-Care (PoC) applications, for example for the area of “personalized healthcare”.
Key areas of the business unit Biohybrid Systems are biosensors for:
- The multiparametric monitoring (e.g. glucose, lactate, pH) of cell cultures in bioreactors or Organ-on-Chips
- Fluroescence and chemoluminescence-based detection systems (use of highly sensitive SPADs)
- The marker-free detection using impedance spectroscopy