Researchers from Tuft University and Princeton University have developed a technique that uses silk absorption to place a wireless graphene nanosensor onto biomaterials. The scientists used the technique to print a sensor onto the surface of a tooth in order to monitor bacteria in saliva. The technology is unique in its ability to monitor bacterial presence in situ, according to an article on Nanowerk. Typically, detecting bacteria with conventional methods requires the collection of specimen and the analysis of the specimen in a lab. The new technique would provide instant analysis, eliminating the time delay between taking the sample and getting the results.
Because of graphene’s nanoscale nature, it is capable of highly sensitive analysis. Printing it onto water-soluble silk enables the biotransfer of the graphene nanosensors onto different types of biomaterials.
The device is capable of extremely sensitive sensing, but further research is needed to improve the system so it can differentiate between different species of pathogenic bacteria, says Manu S. Mannoor, a graduate student who is the paper’s first author, to Nanowerk.
The findings were reported in Nature Communications. The technique could be used to monitor bacteria in other application as well, for example in hospital sanitation and food safety analysis.Camilla Andersson