Ultrasensitive Biosensor for Detecting Biotoxins in Drinking Water

EPA Contract Number: EPD04010
Title: Ultrasensitive Biosensor for Detecting Biotoxins in Drinking Water
Investigators: Miller, Michael
Small Business: BioScale Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
Project Amount: $69,557
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Homeland Security , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The goal of this Phase I research project is to develop a novel MicroElectroMechanical Systems-based sensor capable of detecting low levels of biotoxins in drinking water. An automated detection system based on this technology will fulfill a critical need in homeland security threat management. Central to the proposed sensing approach is a resonating microstructure optimized for sensitive system-level identification of the vibratory modes and, hence, detection of target analytes. Choosing the appropriate surface chemistry and capture agents as well as operating in a multiplexed format provides a means of achieving high selectivity. Because binding of the analyte to the surface is detected directly by monitoring changes in the vibrational spectra, no labeling is required. The sensing elements are microfabricated using wafer-level processes so that low-cost arrays become feasible along with an extension of capabilities. For example, individual sensing elements can be functionalized or addressed to target multiple analytes, allowing a complete assay on a single chip.

BioScale, Inc., will test program prototype sensing elements to prove the feasibility of the proposed approach. The proposed sensor technology can be deployed to detect a wide range of biological targets; therefore, it can be used in a broad range of biodetection applications, including contaminant detection for environmental monitoring or homeland defense, medical diagnostics, and pharmaceutical development and production.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, biosensor, biotoxin, drinking water, MicroElectroMechanical System, MEMS, homeland security, analyte, sensing element, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Drinking Water, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, homeland security, monitoring, detection, field portable systems, environmental measurement, field portable monitoring, drinking water regulations, community water system, field monitoring, chemical detection techniques, continuous monitoring sensors, biosensing system, analytical methods, analytical chemistry, environmental contaminants, measurement, automated water monitoring, biosensor, biosensors, drinking water contaminants

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report