The goal of the NU-NSEC is to develop novel biological and chemical
sensor modalities (recognition and signal transduction)
based upon an understanding of biorecognition
and the chemistry, physics, and engineering of functional surface
architectures with sub-100 nanometer
features. This is accomplished in part by exploiting and further
developing several emerging patterning tools and synthetic methods
unique to this Center, that allow
one to fabricate such structures.
These techniques, together
with unique capabilities in surface
structure characterization that are currently localized at the
participating institutions, provide a shared basis for the design
and fabrication of integrated soft nanostructures and sensing
systems, and offer a unique opportunity for collaborative inquiry
of both fundamental scientific and technological value. The
development of patterning technologies that provide access to
the 1-100 nm length scale represents one of the greatest and
perhaps most important challenges to the field of nanotechnology.
While such technologies could significantly impact a variety
of disciplines, they will have an enormous impact in the detection
arena and be realizable in the near future.
Center research is organized into
three synergistic research groups (SRGs).
SRG under the leadership of Professor Mark Hersam develops and refines sub-100 nm patterning methods.
Signal Transduction and Receptor Design (STRD) SRG (formerly
the Optical Nanoarray SRG) under the leadership of Professor Milan Mrksich focuses on the development of optical,
electrochemical and mass spectrometric sensing strategies for
transducing the binding of an analyte to a receptor into a measurable
signal, and with the initial implementation of these strategies
for the detection of biological and chemical analytes.
Biodetection Chip Synergistic Research Group (or I-Chip SRG,
formerly the E-Chip SRG) under the leadership of Professor Vinayak Dravid is working to design and prototype
an integrated microfluidic device for ultrasensitive and selective
Finally, the Center recognizes that higher-risk
projects can often lead to major advances. PIs are seed-funded
each year to address novel approaches to sensor or nanolithography