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[Illinois] ECE 416 Bio Structure/Function II + Mass Transport I

By Brian Cunningham

Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

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           In this lecture, the roles of antibodies and their structures are elaborated on from the last lecture. Then, there is a revision of DNA and RNA: the structure, the base pairs, the different nucleotides and the hydrogen bonds' effects on the shape. The Double Helix structure is then shown as an ending point for the complete structure, but with the potential of denaturing it for biosensor purposes. In the second part of the lecture, mass transport is discussed. The three main ways for how things get to the sensor of the biosensor surface are: random motion, diffusion, and flow. Random motion and diffusion are flow with the introduction of the diffusion coefficient and the idea of Fick's Law. Diffusion can take a long time to occur with the amount of solution decreasing as time moves on. This leads to the idea of flow cell and the replenishing of the concentration it can provide.


My research group is focused on the application of sub-wavelength optical phenomena and fabrication methods to the development of novel devices and instrumentation for the life sciences. The group is highly interdisciplinary, with expertise in the areas of microfabrication, nanotechnology, computer simulation, instrumentation, molecular biology, and cell biology. In particular, we are working on biosensors based upon photonic crystal concepts that can either be built from low-cost flexible plastic materials, or integrated with semiconductor-based active devices, such as light sources and photodetectors, for high performance integrated detection systems.

Using a combination of micrometer-scale and nanometer-scale fabrication tools, we are devising novel methods and materials for producing electro-optic devices with nanometer-scale features that can be scaled for low-cost manufacturing. Many of our techniques are geared for compatibility with flexible plastic materials, leading to applications such as low cost disposable sensors, wearable sensors, flexible electronics, and flexible displays. Because our structures manipulate light at a scale that is smaller than an optical wavelength, we rely on computer simulation tools such as Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA) and Finite Difference Time Doman (FDTD) to model, design, and understand optical phenomena within photonic crystals and related devices.

In addition to fabricating devices, our group is also focused on the design, prototyping, and testing of biosensor instrumentation for high sensitivity, portability, and resolution. Advanced instruments enable high resolution imaging of biochemical and cellular interactions with the ability to monitor images of biochemical interactions as a function of time. Using the sensors and instrumentation, we are exploring new applications for optical biosensor technology including protein microarrays, biosensor/mass spectrometry systems, and microfluidics-based assays using nanoliter quantities of reagents. The methods and systems developed in the laboratory are applied in the fields of life science research, drug discovery, diagnostic testing, and environmental monitoring. -From Professor Cunningham's Faculty Profile

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Brian Cunningham (2013), "[Illinois] ECE 416 Bio Structure/Function II + Mass Transport I,"

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL


NanoBio Node, Obaid Sarvana, George Daley

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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  1. Unable to find presentation., a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.