Researchers at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory (LNNano) have developed a simple electronic device for detecting a pair of biomolecules related to various types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The development is based on a transistor with an organic layer on a nanometric scale, in liquid medium, which can easily identify the peptide reduced glutathione (GSH) and glutathione S-transferase (GST).
Unlike conventional transistors, which are formed by multilayers of different materials, the device developed at LNNano has only one pair of electrical contacts covered by an organic layer, which simplifies fabrication of the transistor. In this architecture, the organic film is exposed in a liquid medium, wherein there is a third electrode for the detection of biomolecule pair.
The development is now one of the most advanced studies of the Device Group and Functional Systems (FSD) of LNNano, which has research on several platforms at the nanoscale. “What we did was take a studied platform in the DSF to give her an application in the biomedical field,” says researcher Rafael Furlan de Oliveira, one of the authors of the scientific article demonstrating the operation of the organic transistor. Currently, the FSD group working on developing various systems for the detection of GSH and GST as well as other molecules of biological interest.
The technology of the organic transistor to detect substances in a liquid interface is quite recent and has been explored in several areas. The device developed by the DSF, however, is the first such reporting the detection of GSH-GST. “This is an important match for Biomedicine and that can be detected reversibly and at low concentrations due to the peculiar characteristics of the transistor,” says Oliveira, who also highlights the main platform advantages: “Organic devices are easily modifiable and more simple than conventional devices.”
The work is authored by researchers Rafael Furlan de Oliveira, Leandro das Mercês Silva, and Tatiana Parra Vello, under the coordination of Carlos César Bof Bufon, the Device Group and Functional Systems (DSF / LNNano). This study was recently published in Organic Electronics (doi: 10.1016 / j.orgel.2016.01.041). Research is continuing a winning work by the International Union of Materials Research Societies – IUMRS, funded by development agencies CAPES, CNPq and FAPESP. The FSD has developed a variety of platforms for chemical sensing, biological and physical, focused on national and international strategic sectors, including health, environment and energy. This initiative is framed in the mission of LNNano/CNPEM which aims to support research, technological development and innovation in Brazil through the transformation of scientific knowledge into products and processes of relevance.