System and Process for Forming Carbon Nano-tube Sensors

Categories: “Medical and Research Devices

Reference #: 2010-033

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A process for forming functionalized  ‘carbon nano-tube field effect transistors’ (CNTFETs) by decorating the CNTFETs with metallic nano-particles so they can be used as biosensors.


  • Highly specific detection of presence (or absence) of target molecules in chemical or biological systems.


  • Technique allows controllable nano-particle deposition rate as well as size and particle density selectivity through local electric field manipulation
  • Superior bio-receptor anchorage through use of novel decoration technique
  • Batch production amenability provided by inherent simplicity of fabrication


Numerous entities including the medical community, law enforcement and national defense have long sought non-invasive ways to accurately detect, monitor and analyze the presence or absence of target molecules in an individual/patient. Carbon nanotubes have emerged as very sensitive field effect transistors to act as signal transducers, however current technology has not been able to capitalize on its properties as a biosensor due to challenges with engaging bioreceptors. 

Georgetown University researchers have developed a way to functionalize bioreceptors on the surface of carbon nanotubes, which are otherwise inert to such functionalization. By decorating the surface of the carbon nanotubes with metallic nanoparticles, the bioreceptors can be anchored to the carbon nanotube. In this way the vast potential of carbon nanotubes as sensitive biosensors can be realized.

Stage of Development

Reduced to practice – Protocol development


Makarand Paranjape, Jianyun Zhou

Patent Status

U.S. Patent Issued – U.S. 9,302,908 B2