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ECS Short Courses


Phoenix, AZ | Sunday, May 18, 2008

Short Course #3
Electrochemical Biosensors Based on Nanomaterials
Arben Merkoçi, Instructor

The aim of this course is to show some aspects of the implementation of nanoscience and nanotechnology, in bioanalysis in general, and in biosensors in particular. It will explain several strategies related to the integration of nanomaterials into biosensor systems. This represents one of the hottest topics today in nanotechnology and nanoscience, due to the capacity of nanomaterials to provide special optical or electrical properties, improve stability, and minimize surface fouling of the sensing systems.

Different nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes, nanoparticles, nanomagnetic beads, and nanocomposites are being used to develop highly sensitive and robust biosensing systems. Certain nanomaterials are attractive probe candidates because of their (1) small size (1-100 nm) and correspondingly large surface-to-volume ratio, (2) chemically tailorable physical properties, which directly relate to size, composition, and shape, (3) unusual target binding properties, and (4) overall structural robustness.

The field of biosensors is showing special interest in nanobiomaterials. Nanomaterials bring several advantages to bioanalysis. Their immobilization on sensing devices generates novel interfaces that enable the sensitive optical or electrochemical detection of molecular and biomolecular analytes. Moreover they are being used as effective labels to amplify the analysis and to design novel biomaterial architectures with pre-designed and controlled functions with interest for several applications.

The course will introduce novel concepts achieved in the area of biosensors based on nanomaterials opening new opportunities not only for the basic research but overall offering new tools for real bioanalytical applications.

How does the biosensor community implement the spectacularly bright future offered us by nanoscience? What are the challenges facing the biosensors in the nanoscale future? How do we move from an almost "science fiction" level toward real world outcomes in nanotechnology? After participating in this course, researchers interested in biosensors will be better able to respond to these questions in the future. They will learn about the advantages of nanomaterials compared to other conventional materials but also will get inside the response mechanisms related to such improvements.

These are the main topics that the course will cover:

  • General overview on nanoparticles; applications in sensors
    • general properties
    • preparation
    • modifications
    • applications in chemical sensors

  • Nanoparticles for optical biosensors; DNA and immuno-analysis based on nanomaterials and optical detections
    • biosensors and nanoparticles
    • detection methodologies
    • examples

  • Nanoparticles for electrochemical biosensors; DNA and immuno-analysis based on nanomaterials and electrochemical detections
    • enhancement of the electrontransference
    • nanoparticle detection in DNA and immuno-systems via:
        • quartz crystal microbalance & microcantilevers
        • resistive and capacitive detection
        • stripping analysis
        • potentiometric analysis
        • magnetic tuning

  • Carbon nanotubes applications in (bio)sensing systems
    • general introduction
    • solubilization strategies
    • examples in enzyme, DNA, and immunosystems
    • other applications (gases etc.)


About the Instructor

Arben Merkoçi is professor of research and leader of the Nanobioelectronics & Biosensors Group at the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN) in Barcelona. He was awarded his PhD in chemistry from the University of Tirana, Albania in 1991 and than performed postdoctoral research studies in several European and U.S. universities. He is the author of more than 200 refereed papers and international presentations, served as co-editor of a book (Electrochemical Sensor Analysis), and was guest editor of special issues on carbon nanotubes and nanobiostructures for biosensors applications.

His research is focused on the integration of biological molecules (DNA, antibodies, enzymes) into micro and nanostructures, with state-of-the-art bioelectronic read-out systems, extracting useful analytical signals with interest for various fields. Nanotechnology based biosensors are the product of this integration with great interest for several applications that aim at a significant improvement of the quality and security of humasn life. The biosensors he is developing represent novel generation devices in cutting edge technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. His previous expertise, gained developing electrochemical sensors and biosensors based on different materials, is now joined to that of nanomaterials so as to develop novel, rapid response biosensors selective for targeted chemical and biological molecules. His research aims to be a driving force for analysis and bioanalysis oriented applications of current nanotechnology and nanoscience research.

For additional information about Education, please contact: education


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