Electronics > NANOSPAD

Project abstract

NANOSPAD will develop a novel compact instrument capable of ultra-sensitive analysis of multiple proteins in a customized microarray for rapid diagnosis of allergy. The project exploits Silicon Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPAD), microelectronic devices capable of detecting single photons emitted from ultrasmall samples, down to the single molecule level. The SPAD technology will be exploited to manufacture a novel array of photodetector for parallel measurement of the fluorescent labels attached to specific target probe molecules at each spot of a protein microarray. The NANOSPAD microarray system is intended to represent a demonstration of a viable methodology for specific detection of any protein in the rapidly growing field of proteomic research.
NANOSPAD microarray enables: minimal reagent consumption, shorter analysis time and increased sample throughput for analytical detection of allergen-specific IgEs. The combination of system miniaturization and software development will then provide an automated diagnostic instrument with reduced size and cost for widespread use.
The NANOSPAD project started at the beginning of 2006. This is the first year of the NANOSPAD project. During the first year the unit of the Politecnico di Milano, on one hand, has designed a SPAD matrix detector with 48 pixels of 50 micron diameter and the associated electronics and it is presently carrying out tests on the first prototypes. On the other hand, it has coordinated the work of the other units of the project on the other issues concerning chemical, biochemical and microfluidic themes involved in the project.

Photon-counting matrix detector layout: 48 SPAD pixels of 50 Ám diameter.

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Project results

NANOSPAD aims to overcome technology limitations of the existing systems for quantitative measurements of allergen-specific IgE.
Validation of the instrument for diagnosis with respect to existing technology will be realized by comparative testing using a set of clinically relevant purified and recombinant allergens. Long-term objective is the development of a new intelligent diagnosis equipment for healthcare of the future, meeting requirements of reduced cost.