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Graphene Oxide Biosensors speed up drug research

By Tim Sandle     Sep 27, 2015 in Science
Moscow - Each week a new application of the material graphene seems to emerge. The latest application is with developing sensors used for screening candidate drugs in the search for more effective medications.
An efficient way to test out new drugs is doing so outside of an animal model (and people, for safety and ethical reasons, cannot be used.) An alternative is to examine how substances react with the tiny sections of live tissue. Form this inferences can be drawn about how the drug may react in a mammalian body. Those substances deemed sufficiently safe can go forwards for animal studies and eventual human clinical trials.
The process of tissue examination is termed preclinical selection. Russian researchers have been considering whether it is possible to make this procedure more efficient. For this they have constructed a graphene oxide-based biosensor. The graphene basis vastly improves the biosensing sensitivity of the probe.
These properties are based on something called surface plasmon resonance. Surface plasmons are electromagnetic waves that move across a metal-dielectric interface. The rate at which the waves decay can be used to show different molecules. By replacing the materials customarily used for the interfaces with graphene, more efficient sensors can be created. Graphene offers a large surface area and interaction with a wide range of biomolecules. It can also be produced more cheaply than current interfaces, such as those made from gold.
Made in this way, a new generation of sensors can be produced to detect biomolecule adsorption at a few trillionth of a gram per millimeter square.
Graphene is a very thin material (just one atom thick). It is highly conducive; very strong; malleable; and it has been used for a range of applications, including coating power plants, making flexible computing screens, and to filtering out contaminants from water.
The study was performed at the Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. The findings have been published in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces. The paper is titled “Highly Sensitive and Selective Sensor Chips with Graphene-Oxide Linking Layer.”
More about Graphene, Graphene Oxide, Biosensors, Drugs
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