University Engineers Create Device That Instantly Gives COVID Test Results

by Mat Dirjish

Scientists and engineers at Auburn University-College of Engineering unveil what they say is a device that instantly reveals COVID-19 test results. The unique device paves the way for the development of biomedical sensors based on 2D materials using conventional semiconductor technologies.

The electronic device employs two-dimensional materials that integrate antibodies, which allows it to immediately detect a virus spike protein. When the protein interacts with the antibody within the testing device, it impacts the electronic properties of the atomically-thin monolayer 2D material. As soon as the technician puts a sample drop on the transistor surface, the device responds and provides the test results.

The engineering team fabricated two-dimensional field-effect transistor biosensors using monolayer tungsten diselenide crystals for the detection of COVID-19 spike proteins. They also made transistors using manufacturing processes common to integrated-circuit technologies to define contact electrodes on the 2D crystals, combined with ionic liquid gating.

They add the SARS COVID-19 antibody to the 2D crystal surface to create the sensing platform. In operation, the platform successfully tests for various spike protein concentrations down to 25 femtograms per microliter, analogous to 1 gram of sample in 40 million liters of water.

Additionally, the team’s device can serve as a detector for numerous viruses other than COVID-19. For more details, you can peruse the  “Two-Dimensional-Material-Based Field-Effect Transistor Biosensor for Detecting COVID-19 Virus (SARS-CoV-2)”  paper. Also visit the Auburn University-College of Engineering website.

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