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Monolithically Integrated Interferometric Biochips for label-free Early Detection of Human Diseases (PYTHIA)
Start date: 01 May 2008, End date: 31 Oct 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The proposed project aims at the development of a novel biochip based on monolithic, fully integrated biosensor array fabricated by standard Si-technology and its application to the early diagnosis of human diseases through label-free and multi-analyte detection.The basic sensor scheme consists of a VIS-NIR light source and a waveguide monolithically fabricated on a silicon wafer, while its principle of operation is the spectroscopic interference due to the optical path difference originating by biochemical events. The signal recording will be realized either via an also monolithically fabricated photodetector or via an external spectrophotometer. This dual approach will provide the user with higher flexibility in terms of the recording, since it will exploit both the intensity and spectral characteristics of the output signal. The integrated nature of the basic biosensor scheme allows for the development of arrays tailored to specific diagnostic applications. Each biosensor array will be comprised of individually functionalized light source/optical fiber series coupled to a single detector for multiplexing operation. Encapsulation with an appropriately designed microfluidic system will allow for the easy delivery of the samples to be analyzed and ensure the facile contact with the external low-noise electronic components. The encapsulated array will be fixed on a cartridge with all the necessary electronics, ready to be manually inserted to its final position in the housing, where it will be directly connected to the optical and electrical interconnects. The biochip, controlled by accompanying user-friendly software, will be capable of simultaneous multi-analyte detection (e.g. mutations of specific genes), and real-time monitoring and processing, with a detection duration that will not exceed a few minutes with minimal blood sample volumes or specimens.
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