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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Biosensing Research


A biosensor is a system or device that detects the presence of biological and chemical species. A biosensor is composed of a sensing element and a transducer. The sensing element selectively recognizes a particular species of interest through a reaction, specific absorption, or other physical or chemical process. The transducer converts the results of this recognition into an electrical or optical signal to be measured. The ability to detect pathogens quickly and accurately is critical for both the prevention and treatment of illness. Common uses for biosensors are glucose sensors for diabetes, E. Coli sensors for food safety, and toxin sensors for environmental monitoring.

The emergence of nanotechnology has significantly improved the capabilities of biosensing devices enabling higher sensitivity detection with higher throughput and faster response times. Optical biosensors detect a modulation in light intensity, change in light propagation direction, or shift in resonant wavelength based on a refractive index change that occurs when the target substance is captured by receptors on the functionalized biosensor surface. Examples of optical biosensor platforms include photonic crystals, waveguides, interferometers, optical fibers, and surface plasmon resonance biosensors.


  • Fabrication and functionalization of optically resonant sensors for DNA and pathogen detection
  • Characterization and optimization of materials properties to create more efficient and sensitive biosensing platforms