Biohybrid interfaces and their application in diagnostics

In this project, the Bioresponsive Materials group concentrates on the adsorption of basic biological building blocks and small biomolecules on metallic surfaces and on transport in, through and along functionalised surfaces. These processes play an important role for biocompatible surfaces, enzymatic reactions, and new sensors and might therefore influence areas as diverse as transplantation medicine or the development of medical sensors.

The group has one of the few near ambient pressure XPS devices worldwide that can be operated on a laboratory scale. The NAP-XPS is ideally suited for investigating the interplay between materials surfaces and biomolecules because it enables analyses under nearly normal ambient conditions. The instrument provides quantitative information on surface composition and is also able to detect binding states and therefore the chemical activity of elements on the interface.

Furthermore, the group employs surface plasmon resonance microscopy (SPR microscopy) in this project. SPR microscopy in the form described here was developed at ISAS. It enables nanoobjects in liquid or gaseous samples to be identified and counted. Among other things, the technology can be used to determine extremely low concentrations of viruses or the number of nanoparticles in the air without lengthy sample preparation. Moreover, the method additionally opens up new ways to investigate transport processes at interfaces. It is therefore interesting for novel clinical sensors, for example in virus detection or for the investigation of vesicle transport on cell membranes.

To enhance the method, the group currently works on employing magnetic nanoparticles for a targeted transport to the sensor surface as well as on new application fields such as disease diagnostics based on blood or other bodily fluids.