Wednesday, November 6, 2013
8:00 pm
Beckman Auditorium

Axel Scherer - From Lab-on-a-Chip to Lab-in-the-Body: The Role of Nanotechnology in the Miniaturization of Medical Diagnostic Tools

Miniaturization of devices has fueled the rapid evolution of microelectronic systems over the past decades. More recently, silicon has also emerged as an opto-electronic and electro-mechanical material. The manufacturability of high resolution silicon micro- and nanostructures is unparalleled, and the control over the precise geometry of silicon devices has followed the predictable path of Moore's law.  In anticipation of the evolution of this trend, we will describe the opportunities of reducing the sizes of silicon devices to below 10nm to control mechanical, optical and electronic properties of silicon – with particular applications in medical instruments. We show some examples of nanostructures with dimensions below 10nm in all dimensions.  This control enables many interesting devices with new optical, electrical and mechanical opportunities.

As the size of devices is reduced, it is possible to contemplate their integration within more complex and compact optical and electronic systems. During the second part of the presentation, the opportunities for integrated spectroscopy and data communications systems for implantable health monitors will be explored. The combination of power supply, data communications and biochemical detectors within small chips enables us to contemplate new microsystems for healthcare monitoring. Such systems could be implanted as glucometers, neural probes and other metabolic measurement tools and will enable a new class of continuous digital health monitors that hopefully leads to preventative healthcare at lower cost.

Presented by: Caltech Committee on Institute Programs

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