News Article

GaN Chips Offer Bedside Cancer Diagnosis

A University of Florida professor is hoping to position GaN devices as robust and inexpensive electrical monitors for diabetes, renal failure and prostate cancer.

Electronic detection of so-called biomarker molecules could accelerate disease diagnosis, and GaN transistors are one of the cheapest options available to achieve this.

That s what Fan Ren of the University of Florida reckons, and he's recently made his case by detecting a biomarker that signals acute renal failure down to 1 ng/ml. At this level, the researchers say that their device could be useful for preclinical and clinical applications.

In a November 26 Applied Physics Letters paper, Ren and his collaborators modified a GaN high-electron mobility transistor (HEMT) from Nitronex by attaching kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) antibodies to it.

When KIM-1 is exposed to the transistor it then remains attached to the antibodies, affecting electron mobility and hence the current passing through the HEMT.

KIM-1 is a molecule found in the urine of people suffering from acute renal failure. Technology exists to detect its presence, but is either limited to only testing for one disease, or is too slow for rapid bedside diagnosis.

“We can functionalize devices with different antibodies using a commercially available inkjet system to achieve multiple detections with an array of the sensors," Ren claimed.

“The active area in a sensor, including source and drain contact area and gate detection area, is quite compact and can be minimized to less than 20 µm x 20 µm."

Silicon transistors have also been developed for electronic biomarker detectors, but Ren chose GaN because it is much more chemically stable than silicon or GaAs. Approaches that use carbon nanotubes and nanowires made from silicon, In2O3, or ZnO are also in development.

“Nano-devices also have very good detection capability, sometimes even better than GaN HEMTs," said Ren. “However, it may be difficult to achieve low cost and high throughput production for nanorods and nanotubes."

This is not the first GaN based detector that Ren has made for medical diagnosis. His other devices can detect protein biomarkers for prostate cancer in urine, and glucose measurement that could be used to analyse breath samples for diabetes.

These detectors suggest some obvious commercial opportunities for the University of Florida beyond the tie-up with Nitronex, the specialist GaN HEMT manufacturer that employs five co-authors of the KIM-1 paper.

Ren and his colleagues hope to commercialize their technology and are currently discussing ways to exploit breath condensate based glucose detection with interested parties.

CS International to return to Brussels – bigger and better than ever!


The leading global compound semiconductor conference and exhibition will once again bring together key players from across the value chain for two-days of strategic technical sessions, dynamic talks and unrivalled networking opportunities.


Join us face-to-face between 28th – 29th June 2022

  • View the agenda.
  • 3 for the price of 1. Register your place and gain complementary access to TWO FURTHER industry leading conferences: PIC International and SSI International.
  • Email info@csinternational.net  or call +44 (0)24 7671 8970 for more details.

*90% of exhibition space has gone - book your booth before it’s too late!

Register


×
Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
×
Logo
×
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.


Please subscribe me to:

 

You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in:
 
Live Event