The past decade has seen researchers develop and apply novel technologies for biomolecular detection, at times approaching hard limits imposed by physics and chemistry.
The transport of target molecules to the sensor can play as critical a role as the chemical reaction itself in governing binding kinetics, and ultimately, performance. Yet rarely does an analysis of the interplay between diffusion, convection, and reaction motivate experimental design or interpretation.
I will present a physically intuitive and practical understanding of analyte transport for researchers who develop and employ biosensors based on surface capture. We will highlight collection limits for micro- and nanoscale sensors, and give examples showing how designing explicitly for mass transport can enhance detection rates and capture flux.
Second, I will talk about a strategy we have developed to integrate thin hydrogel membranes into microfliudic devices at desired locations, with the idea of enabling rapid switching of local chemical environments, and the imposition of strong gradients in physicochemical properties.