Theme 1: Magnetic Biosensors for Healthcare
MPS Point-of-Care Device
In magnetic particle spectroscopy (MPS), a sinusoidal magnetic field with sufficiently large amplitude is applied to MNPs, which periodically drives their magnetization into and out of saturation. Their magnetic responses, which contain unique harmonics, are recorded and separated into their spectral components. This research topic of our group explores the MPS as a portable, highly sensitive, cheap, in vitro, and easy-to-use bioassay testing kit.
Collaborators: Prof. Jian-Ping Wang's lab, Prof. Maxim C. Cheeran's lab
Industry Collaborators: Ocean NanoTech LLC, Aerosol Devices Inc.
Machine Learning Assisted Healthcare
Machine learning empowered big data analytics can present new opportunities in the field of biomedical and healthcare, disease diagnosis, evaluation of drug treatments, etc. In this topic, we are utilizing machine learning to improve the detection sensitivity (true positive rate) and specificity (true negative rate) of our developed biosensors as well as some commercial disease diagnosis products.
Furthermore, machine learning will also be combined with our magnetic imaging techniques to assist the diagnosis of tumors at different pathological stages.
THz Spintronic Biosensors for Biomolecular Fingerprinting
The THz radiation is the frequency band of 0.1 – 10 THz. It has unique features such as invisible, non-invasive, non-ionizing, biologically safe, and non-destructive. THz radiation also tends to be very sensitive to various kinds of resonances such as vibrational, translational, rotational, torsional, and conformational states, enabling it to provide information on molecules that are inaccessible with other analytical and imaging techniques. It has been applied to address protein conformational changes and intermolecular interactions. The THz wave absorption spectroscopy enables the label-free and non-destructive inspection on the chemical and biological substances.
In this project, we are developing THz spintronic nanodevice arrays for the label-free biomolecular fingerprinting. The spintronic nanodevices themselves are THz wave generators with high Q factors. Their THz resonance frequencies can be fine-tuned by the charge current and bias magnetic fields to match the absorption frequencies of different biomolecules. Furthermore, our spintronic nanodevices have dimensions comparable to target biomolecules, enabling single-molecule detection.
Wearable GMR Inks
Most biosensors are based on solid substrates and lack the flexibility to attach to complex surfaces, especially in biomedical applications. Herein, we are exploring a inkjet printable, flexible, and skin-attachable sensor that is based on the granular giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect. By mixing magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in a conductive matrix and solidifying under a constant magnetic field. These type of GMR ink biosensors show great potential in future wearable devices for real time vital signal monitoring. Furthermore, our GMR inks are biocompatible and will fall off by themselves after one week.
Past Research Topics
GMR Point-of-Care Device
Electrical resistance in a specially engineered tri-layered magnetic thin film changes when a magnetic field is applied. This phenomenon is known as “giant magnetoresistance” (GMR). To date, chip based GMR along with magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have become a powerful tool for high sensitivity, real-time electrical readout, and rapid biomolecule detection. Our research aims to bring accurate and sensitive GMR biosensing into non-laboratory settings like point-of-care clinics and homes. Furthermore, this GMR biosensor is expected to be an easy-to-use sensor and able to test multiple diseases in one simple body fluid sample and in one step.