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Direct detection of small molecules using a nano-molecular imprinted polymer receptor and a quartz crystal resonator driven at a fixed frequency and amplitude
Small molecule detection is of wide interest in clinical and industrial applications. However, its accessibility is still limited as miniaturisation and system integration is challenged in reliability, costs and complexity. Here we combined a 14.3 MHz quartz crystal resonator (QCR), actuated and analysed using a fixed frequency drive (FFD) method, with a nanomolecular imprinted polymer for label-free, realtime detection of N-hexanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (199 Da), a gram-negative bacterial infection biomarker. The lowest concentration detected (1 µM) without any optimisation was comparable with that of a BIAcore SPR system, an expensive laboratory gold standard, with significant enhancement in sensitivity and specificity beyond the state-of-the-art QCR. The analytical formula-based FFD method can potentially allow a multiplexed “QCR-on-chip” technology, bringing a paradigm shift in speed, accessibility and affordability of small molecule detection.
EU projects RAPP-ID (FP7-JTI 115153)
Norosensor (FP7-NMP 604244)
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering