Engineered Magnetic Nanoparticles for Advanced Biosensor Signal Processing and Detection of Waterborne PathogensEPA Contract Number: EPD05032
Title: Engineered Magnetic Nanoparticles for Advanced Biosensor Signal Processing and Detection of Waterborne Pathogens
Investigators: Hartman, Nile
Small Business: nGimat Co.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Project Period: March 1, 2005 through August 31, 2005
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2005) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Nanotechnology , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Nanotechnology
nGimat Co., proposes to advance the versatile integrated optic chip sensor for the detection/identification of waterborne bacterial and viral pathogens and toxins. nGimat will utilize magnetic nanoparticles to enable an advanced signal-processing scheme that promises enhanced optical biosensor detection sensitivity (sub-ppb). Fabrication of the necessary magnetic nanoparticles will be facilitated by nGimat’s proprietary NanospraySM process. The state-of-the-art nanopowders will be tailored in size (ultrafine and monodisperse), composition (complex if necessary), and architecture (coated, shape) for sensor performance. The incorporation of magnetic nanoparticles is projected to enable a 102 to 104 increase in detection sensitivity. Specifically, a magnetic field will be utilized to induce nanoscale displacements of tethered magnetic particles immobilized on the waveguide surface. These displacements will induce a phase shift in the output of a waveguide interferometer that will be used to discriminate noise from the collected signal.
nGimat expects the proposed technology to build on the base optical sensor and be capable of real-time, direct detection (no labeling, additional chemistry steps, or reagents) of multiple biomolecules (proteins, toxins, nucleic acids) in the femtomolar concentration range and pathogens (bacteria, viruses) at concentrations of less than 100 organisms/mL. Performance at this level would place the technology well ahead of existing and emerging sensing methodologies and position it to be competitive with sophisticated laboratory analytical tools. If successful, nGimat’s approach will satisfy the need for a compact field instrument that combines rapid, real-time detection with the necessary high sensitivity and simple-to-use operation.
The World Health Organization has stated that infectious diseases are the world’s largest single contributor to human mortality. Several of these infectious diseases are waterborne. The impact of this problem creates a sensor market that is projected to be worth approximately $100 million. Much more dramatic than the actual sensor sales market is the economic benefit that could result from preventing productivity losses due to illnesses caused by waterborne pathogens. A key factor in improving safety and minimizing economic losses resulting from infectious waterborne diseases is the development of monitoring equipment suitable for detecting and identifying naturally occurring waterborne bacteria, viruses, and toxins, as well as biowarfare agents. Unfortunately, portable monitoring systems that are easily operated by untrained personnel either are not available or do not have the requisite sensitivity and response required. nGimat’s sensor technology has tremendous potential to fill this need.