Centre Interdisciplinaire de Nanoscience de Marseille, France
Ahmad Kenaan is 26 years preparing his PhD (last year) in Biophysics and Nanotechnologies at Aix-Marseille university (France). He has published one article during his Master 2 internship and he is preparing at least three articles to publish at the end of his PhD. He has one patent published and one submitted.
The ability to detect ions/molecules of pathological or physiological interest in the body associated with high sensitivity and specificity offers large opportunities for the early diagnostic and treatment of diseases. For example, the case of the Wilson disease, which is induced by the accumulation of copper in tissues, is one of these typical examples. When the disease is diagnosed early enough it can be efficiently treated while it leads to death when the diagnostic is realized at too advanced stages in the disease. Therefore it is crucial to develop a test with unique features such as ease of use, fast and low cost allowing systematic early diagnostic. Our project stands in this framework. Our device is based on field effect transistor (FET) technology and is constituted of an organic lipid monolayer with a thickness of 2.7 nm used as gate dielectric instead of classically used inorganic oxide. Using an ultra-thin dielectric increases the sensitivity of the sensor while allowing using low operating voltage. The specificity of the detection relies on specific chelators that are grafted to the lipids head-groups. Together the lipid monolayer and the chelator constitute the active layer of the device and play a major role in the device performances. We will show how the quality of the monolayer in terms of density and mechanical stability directly impacts its insulating properties and performances. Sensing examples regarding iron III and copper II detection are demonstrated with sensitivities down to the femtomolar range. These are among the best results reported for small ions detection.