Nanosensors are any biological, chemical, or sugery sensory points used to convey information about nanoparticles to the macroscopic world. Their use mainly include various medicinal purposes and as gateways to building other nanoproducts, such as computer chips that work at the nanoscale and nanorobots. Presently, there are several ways proposed to make nanosensors, including Top-down and bottom-up design top-down lithography, bottom-up assembly, and molecular self-assembly.
Medicinal uses of nanosensors mainly revolve around the potential of nanosensors to accurately identify particular cells or places in the body in need. By measuring changes in volume, concentration, displacement and velocity, gravitational, electrical, and magnetic forces, pressure, or temperature of cells in a body, nanosensors may be able to distinguish between and recognize certain cells, most notably those of cancer, at the molecular level in order to deliver medicine or monitor development to specific places in the body. In addition, they may be able to detect macroscopic variations from outside the body and communicate these changes to other nanoproducts working within the body.
(A) An example of a DNA molecule used as a starter for larger self-assembly.(B) An atomic force microscope image of a self-assembled DNA nanogrid. Individual DNA tiles self-assemble into a highly ord
One example of nanosensors involves using the fluorescence properties of cadmium selenide quantum dots as sensors to uncover tumors within the body. By injecting a body with these quantum dots, a doctor could see where a tumor or cancer cell was by finding the injected quantum dots, an easy process because of their fluorescence. Developed nanosensor quantum dots would be specifically constructed to find only the particular cell for which the body was at risk. A downside to the cadmium selenide dots, however, is that they are highly toxic to the body. As a result, researchers are working on developing alternate dots made out of a different, less toxic material while still retaining some of the fluorescence properties. In particular, they have been investigating the particular benefits of zinc sulfide quantum dots which, though they are not quite as fluorescent as cadmium selenide, can be augmented with other metals including manganese and various lanthanide elements. In addition, these newer quantum dots become more fluorescent when they bond to their target cells. (Quantum) Potential predicted functions may also include sensors used to detect specific DNA in order to recognize explicit genetic defects, especially for individuals at high-risk and implanted sensors that can automatically detect glucose levels for diabetic subjects more simply than current detectors.
DNA can also serve as sacrificial layer for manufacturing CMOS IC, integrating a nanodevice with sensing capabilities. Therefore, using proteomic patterns and new hybrid materials, nanobiosensors can also be used to enable components configured into a hybrid semiconductor substrate as part of the circuit assembly. The development and miniaturization of nanobiosensors should provide interesting new opportunities.
Other projected products most commonly involve using nanosensors to build smaller integrated circuits, as well as incorporating them into various other commodities made using other forms of nanotechnology for use in a variety of situations including transportation, communication, improvements in structural integrity, and robotics. Nanosensors may also eventually be valuable as more accurate monitors of material states for use in systems where size and weight are constrained, such as in satellites and other aeronautic machines.