Quantum Dot/Aptamer Real-Time Flow Sensor

EPA Contract Number: EPD11065
Title: Quantum Dot/Aptamer Real-Time Flow Sensor
Investigators: Bogomolova, Anastasia
Small Business: Smart Polymers Research Corporation
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: II
Project Period: May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2013
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2011) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Homeland Security , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The Phase II project will be dedicated to the design, creation and full-scale testing of a functional multi­-specific sensor prototype for real-time environmental water monitoring. The sensor will be miniature, portable, robust, easy-to-use and completely field-deployable. The utilized competitive displacement detection scheme guarantees high specificity as was shown in Phase I, while bright fluorescence of quantum dots will be responsible for sensitive detection. Real-time detection provides a vital advantage over the existing sensors and will allow timed response in case biothreat agents are detected. The sensor prototype developed in Phase I will be multi-specific towards three toxins (botulinum toxins A and E and Ricin toxin) and additional specificities can be added as needed. The sensor will utilize aptamers that will make it economical and also will contribute to its stability over a wide range of conditions. Full-scale testing with toxins in spiked environmental water samples will be performed by a potential end-user and the sensor operation will be optimized according to the end-user requirements.
The proposed sensor will have immediate applications for constant environmental water monitoring, providing automated real-time specific detection and identification of multiple pathogens, and can be interfaced with the alarm system. The developed sensors can be used to rule out any disease outbreak due to bioterror attack or due to natural reasons. Such sensors will have a great potential for detection of minute amounts of a variety of pathogens/biowarfare agents immediately after their use in a possible attack on military targets or the general population. They have the potential to become, in fact, a part of creating an urban bioshield, maintaining the safety of large cities. Due to the universality of the sensing principle, the functionality of the sensor will be expanded toward other biological pathogens as new relevant aptamers are being selected. The sensing platform can be adapted to address numerous healthcare needs, from drinking water safety to food pathogen monitoring. The real-time detection and identification of pathogens, such as the one proposed by Smart Polymers, would be of enormous benefit from a public health perspective.

Supplemental Keywords:

Aptamer, quantum dot, fluorescence, real-time, pathogens, biothreat, environmental monitoring

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Quantum Dot/Aptamer Real-Time Flow Sensor  | Final Report