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Flexible Raman biosensing platform for low-cost health diagnostics

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: EP/R011230/1
Funded under: EPSRC Funder Contribution: 972,877 GBP

Flexible Raman biosensing platform for low-cost health diagnostics

Description

Highly specific, sensitive sensors interfaced with portable, easy-to use, low-cost instruments are needed for rapid point-of-care infection diagnostics, and will lead to better targeted therapy, shorter time to treatment and reduced morbidity. In this project, we propose to realise a generic, flexible, compact sensing platform with high sensitivity and selectivity. The system will comprise a low-cost instrument employing cheap, disposable generic sensor chips that can be readily committed to specific analytes, from small molecules to proteins and DNA, by using conventional surface modification techniques. Paper-based fluidics will be used to deliver analytes straightforwardly from a drop to the sensor surface or, where required, fluidic microsystems may be easily integrated. The sensing system will be demonstrated with clinical samples from patients who have been exposed to controlled infection to whooping cough and for the analysis of priority pathogens such as ebola and plague. This proposal builds upon our recent work on waveguide-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (WERS) to realise a sensor chip which shows surface enhancements comparable to those of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) with improved application flexibility and manufacturability, and upon joint work between Dstl and Chemistry on surface enhanced Raman approaches to bioanalyte detection. The proposed biosensing platform will have widespread application at the point of care for patients, in the detection of infection and the diagnosis of disease, and for broader applications such as environmental monitoring and security, and will be flexibly configurable for specific settings and analytical challenges. The desktop instrument, employing plug-in disposable sensor chips with simple operation will be appropriate for use in the GP's surgery, the ward, or in remote communities.

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