Discovery and characterization of the sensing modalities of novel diamond-graphene hetero-structures

M. Bockrath, I. Kierk
California Institute of Technology, US

Keywords: nanotech, biosensing


Overview, Significance and Objective It is difficult to overstate the importance of realizing compact sensors, which can be, for example, deployed as small medical diagnostics tools, field-portable detectors of explosives or pathogens and real-time monitors of pollutants. Their numerous applications in areas such as security, medicine and environmental protection could revolutionize entire industries and have transformative societal impact. One particular vital issue is management of clean water resources. Access to clean water is restricted for many people, and an estimated million people die annually from drinking contaminated water. We aim to create sensors and investigate their new sensing modalities capable of real time and remote monitoring of aquatic systems for biological contamination that include bacteria or other bio-toxins such as antibiotics. The planned sensors will combine the flexible surface chemistry of nanocrystalline diamond capable of biological modification1-7 via layer transfer with the high mobility8 and sensing capabilities9-14 of graphene to make field effect transistors capable of label-free, electronic sensing of the target biological contaminants, for example e. coli, typhoid, botulism, viruses, or even particular biomolecules. Diamond covering of graphene also provides a highly durable, biocompatible layer to protect the device in the sensing environment.