Home pageArticles - biotech and pharmacyWireless 'tooth tattoo' detects harmful bacteria

Wireless 'tooth tattoo' detects harmful bacteria

Date: 3.9.2012 

Using silk strands pulled from cocoons and gold wires thinner than a spider's web, researchers at Princeton University have created a removable tattoo that adheres to dental enamel and could eventually monitor a patient's health with unprecedented sensitivity.
In a laboratory in Princeton's Engineering Quadrangle, a graduate student demonstrated the system's wireless capability, breathing across a sensor attached to a cow's tooth. Instantaneously, the sensor generated a response to the student's breath and transmitted a signal to a nearby monitor. "This is a real-time, wireless response from a sensor that can be directly interfaced with a variety of biomaterials," said Michael McAlpine, the team's principal investigator. He said the system not only has the ability to supply fast results, but is able to detect very small amounts of bacteria — a feature that could prove critical in treating certain diseases. The researchers created the tattoo by bundling the silk and gold with graphene — an extremely thin sheet of carbon in which atoms are arranged in a honeycomb lattice. The material's unique properties allowed the researchers to construct a small, flexible device able to detect bacteria at a much higher sensitivity level than traditional methods. In tests, the researchers detected samples of bacteria that can cause surgical infections and others that can lead to stomach ulcers.




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