To detect and identify biomolecules at its infectious dose, all sensors require a relatively long time — days or even weeks — for reliable results. This delay occurs because the collection of analyte molecules onto the sensing elements depends solely on the diffusion process of those agents to a sensor. This work seeks to enhance the transport process, and thereby significantly improve a sensor’s detection capability. This work investigates an in-situ, label-free nanoparticle (e.g. protein) preconcentrator based on a new AC electrothermal effect (ACET) that can operate even in a highly conductive solution for which current methods such as dielectrophoresis, electrophresis or electroosmosis won’t function effectively. The proposed AC electrokinetic preconcentrator is expected to significantly increase the nanoparticle counts, realizing sub-femto molar detection in real time.

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