An electronic biosensing platform
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The objective of this research was to develop the initial constituents of a highly scalable and label-free electronic biosensing platform. Current immunoassays are becoming increasingly incapable of taking advantage of the latest advances in disease biomarker identification, hindering their utility in the potential early-stage diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. This is due primarily to their inability to simultaneously detect large numbers of biomarkers. The platform presented here - termed the electronic microplate - embodies a number of qualities necessary for clinical and laboratory relevance as a next-generation biosensing tool. Silicon nanowire (SiNW) sensors were fabricated using a purely top-down process based on those used for non-planar integrated circuits on silicon-on-insulator wafers and characterized in both dry and in biologically relevant ambients. Canonical pH measurements validated the sensing capabilities of the initial SiNW test devices. A low density SiNW array with fluidic wells constituting isolated sensing sites was fabricated using this process and used to differentiate between both cancerous and healthy cells and to capture superparamagnetic particles from solution. Through-silicon vias were then incorporated to create a high density sensor array, which was also characterized in both dry and phosphate buffered saline ambients. The result is the foundation for a platform incorporating versatile label-free detection, high sensor densities, and a separation of the sensing and electronics layers. The electronic microplate described in this work is envisioned as the heart of a next-generation biosensing platform compatible with conventional clinical and laboratory workflows and one capable of fostering the realization of personalized medicine.