Easy-to-Make Nanosensors For Cancer & Other Bioterror Attacks
One of the most compelling promises of nanotechnology are tiny detectors that could instantly screen for hundreds of toxins or pathogens. Bundled into small handheld devices, these sensors could provide fast alerts of bioterror attacks. They could also be used to quickly and precisely detect early signs of cancer, before the disease turns deadly. (See "Drugstore Cancer Tests.")
Now researchers at Yale University have developed ultrasensitive nanoscale sensors that are easy to manufacture. The sensors are based on semiconducting nanowires, which can detect single virus particles or ultra-low concentrations of a targeted substance, as other researchers have already shown. (See "Super-Sensitive Screen.") Nanowire sensor devices have proven difficult to mass-produce, however. For one thing, the methods used to make them are typically incompatible with those used to make the electronics that amplify and process the signals the nanowires generate.