|Shown is a concept for the direct detection of minute levels of COVID-19 virus particles on surfaces by using engineered bioreceptors attached to electronic nano-sensors. GE scientists are developing sensing technology as part of the NIH project, which could potentially be integrated into mobile devices (e.g. smartphones, smartwatches) and other types of surfaces (e.g. fingerprint scanners, computer keyboards, wall-mounted sensors).|
Over the past decade, Potyrailo and the sensing teams at GE Research have made tremendous strides in developing miniaturized sensing technologies that deliver the superior performance and acute sensing capabilities similar to high-end, large analytical instruments you would find in a typical lab.
“We have developed tiny sensors smaller than a fingertip that have the same detection capabilities as the high-end analytical instruments the size of a microwave oven,” Potyrailo added. “By delivering this exquisite detection capability of a conventional high-end analytical instrument in a such a small form factor, we can now consider sensing applications that you could envision being implemented as a sensor surface on a mobile phone or on a device even smaller than that.”
Potyrailo noted that the breakthrough sensing technology being developed is extremely reliable and good at isolating the detection without the interference of other elements. “Our sensors are sort of like bloodhounds,” Potyrailo added. “We train them to detect a specific thing, and they are able to do that well without being thrown of the trail by something else."
As part of the two-year project, the sensing team will demonstrate the reliable detection of a few nano-particles of concern such as those related to the COVID-19 in the presence of diverse kinds of common interferences.