Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering

Nanoelectrode array for electrical single molecular manipulation.
© Fraunhofer IBMT.

Due to the progress in nanotechnology, new approaches for diagnostics and therapies are developed in the fields of microelectronics, biotechnology and their medical applications. The sizing scale between a molecule and a whole cell, the range between several nanometers up to a few micrometers is not only very interesting for basic research – it is also on this level, where it is decided whether an organism is sick or healthy. Here biotechnology and especially nanobiotechnology is increasingly able to intervene at the roots. The use of nanoparticles in medicine allows for a new approach to the manipulation of intracellular processes. For diagnostics, too, there are various consequences: The increasing advances into ever smaller dimensions will result in medical analysis being able to do with ever smaller samples, e. g. regarding the determination of blood values. This does not only have advantages for the patient – chemical reactions are much more rapid in smaller volumes, can do with less precious sample material and can easier be automated or integrated into small devices. This step shall result in sensor or analysis units which perform all analytical tasks independently from the user and communicate wirelessly and autonomously with the evaluation unit and the doctor.

The Department Nanobiotechnology lays new foundations for further developments and creates the basis for the next generation of diagnostic and bioanalytical devices. The broad approaches of the IBMT concerning the development and production of in vitro diagnostics, dealt with by the department of Molecular Bioanalytics, are thus widened and supplemented by nanotechnological and molecular methods.