A sensor for detecting various fatal diseases in advance, including HIV, has been developed by researchers at the Moscow Institute of Physics And Technology.
"The sensor - an optical chip - will enable the doctors to identify tumor markers, whose presence in the body signals the emergence and growth of cancerous tumors," said researchers.
The researchers - Dmitry Fedyanin and Yury Stebunov - said that the new sensor will combine high sensitivity with a comparative ease of production and miniature dimensions, allowing it to be used in all portable devices, such as smartphones, wearable electronics.
"Unlike similar devices, our sensor has no complex junctions and can be produced through a standard CMOS process technology used in microelectronics. The sensor doesn't have a single circuit, and its design is very simple," the researchers said.
The highly sensitive nanomechanical sensor can analyze the chemical composition of substances and detect viral disease markers which appear when the immune system responds to incurable or hard-to-cure diseases.
The ultra-sensitive sensor can track changes of just a few kilo-daltons in the mass of a cantilever in real time. One Dalton is roughly the mass of a proton or neutron, and several thousand Daltons are the mass of individual proteins and DNA molecules.
So the new optical sensor will allow for diagnosing diseases long before they can be detected by any other method, which will pave the way for a new-generation of diagnostics.
One chip, several millimeters in size, will be able to accommodate several thousand such sensors, configured to detect different particles or molecules, said the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports