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Novel Biomedical Device Utilizing Light-Emitting Nanostructures DevelopedSketches and chemical diagrams of state-of-the-art device and novel proposed device are presented. Current device uses a diode laser that emits into a fluorescent fluid only one wavelength and a photodetector diode that detects only one wavelength. Only one type of bacteria can be detected. The proposed device uses a quantum dot array that emits into a fluorescent fluid multiple wavelengths and an NIR 512 spectrometer that scans 0.8- to 1.7-mm wavelengths. Hundreds of different bacteria and viruses can be detected. A novel biomedical device is being developed at the NASA Glenn Research Center in cooperation with the University of Michigan. This device uses nano-structured quantum dots that emit light in the near-infrared (IR) region. The nanostructured quantum dots are used as a source and excite fluorochrome polymers coupled with antibodies that seek out and attach to specific bacteria and viruses. The fluorochrome polymers/antibodies fluoresce at specific wavelengths in the near-IR spectrum, but these wavelengths are offset from the excitation wavelength and can be detected with a tunable spectrometer. The device will be used to detect the presence of viruses and bacteria in simple fluids and eventually in more complex fluids, such as blood. Current state-of-the-art devices are limited to single bacteria or virus detection and a considerable amount of time and effort is required to prepare samples for analysis. Most importantly, the devices are quite large and cumbersome, which prohibits them from being used on the International Space Station and the space shuttles. This novel device uses nanostructured quantum dots which, through molecular beam epitaxy and highly selective annealing processes, can be developed into an illumination source that could potentially generate hundreds of specific wavelengths. As a result, this device will be able to excite hundreds of antibody/fluorochrome polymer combinations, which in turn could be used to detect hundreds of bacteria and viruses in fluids. A novel sample preparation technique that exploits micromembrane filtration and centrifugation methods has been developed for this device. The technique greatly reduces the time required to prepare the sample and the amount of sample needed to perform an accurate and comprehensive analysis. Last, and probably most important, because of the nano-light-emitting source and the novel sample preparation technique, the overall size of the device could be reduced dramatically. This device will serve as a nanoscale lab-on-a-chip for in situ microorganism detection and will enable tests to be performed on a time scale of minutes rather than days. Thus, it is ideally suited for monitoring the environmental conditions onboard the International Space Station and the space shuttles, thereby enhancing the safety of the astronauts. In addition, the device has important commercial applications, such as detecting the presence of bacteria and viruses in water at food- and beverage-processing centers, water treatment plants, and restaurants. Also, this technology has the potential to be used to detect bacteria and viruses in more complex fluids, such as blood--which in all likelihood would revolutionize blood analysis as it is performed today. This project was made possible through the Director's Discretionary Fund and is ongoing. In addition, this project provides funding to Dr. Rachel Goldman of the University of Michigan for the research and development of nanostructured quantum dots.
Document ID
Document Type
Scardelletti, Maximilian C. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Goldman, Rachel
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 2003
Subject Category
Mechanical Engineering
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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