Project Summary

The NANOIOBIP CRP aims at developing a nano-biosensor system for the diagnosis of crop diseases. The devices consist of either an array of insect odorant-binding proteins or, alternatively, pheromone binding proteins - modified conductive polymer nanofibers placed on inter-digitated microelectrodes array of a liquid ion-gate Field Effect Transistor (LIGFET) or of an array for organic field-effect transistors (OFET) with a protective coating.
Specific binding of odor molecules generate conformational changes that affect the source-drain current of the transistors. This effect combined with the conductive polymers inherent charge transport properties yield a direct and label-free readout. The best nano-biosensor system prototype is expected to achieve limits of detection down to the femto molar range or even better, with a low-cost, reliable operation. Other potential applications include the detection of odor molecules for healthcare or defense.

Specific goals of this CRP include:

  • Determination of selectivity/specificity of insect olfactory cells toward odor molecule using whole insect antennae-based microbiosensors
  • Micro-fabrication of several prototypes of LIGFETs and OFETs as microelectronic readout devices
  • Synthesis of conductive polymer nanofibers and semiconducting nanowires using the template method
  • Functionalization of nanostructures with odorant- or pheromone- binding proteins resulting in arrays of nanobiosensors
  • Testing of nano-biosensor systems with odorants as analytes and comparison with antennae-based microbiosensors

Participating Researchers

Prof. Wolfgang Knoll (Project Leader)
Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna, Austria

Dr. Ionut Enculescu (Principal Investigator)
National Institute of Materials Physics, Magurele, Romania

Prof. Patrick Guerin (Principal Investigator)
Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Prof. Stefan Schütz (Associated Partner)
Universität Göttingen, Institut für Forstzoologie und Waldschutz, Göttingen, Germany

Prof. Paolo Pelosi (Associated Partner)
Facolta di Agraria, Pisa, Italy