Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Apr;26(4):417-26. doi: 10.1038/nbt1388.

Making it stick: convection, reaction and diffusion in surface-based biosensors.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA.


The past decade has seen researchers develop and apply novel technologies for biomolecular detection, at times approaching hard limits imposed by physics and chemistry. In nearly all sensors, the transport of target molecules to the sensor can play as critical a role as the chemical reaction itself in governing binding kinetics, and ultimately performance. Yet rarely does an analysis of the interplay between diffusion, convection and reaction motivate experimental design or interpretation. Here we develop a physically intuitive and practical understanding of analyte transport for researchers who develop and employ biosensors based on surface capture. We explore the qualitatively distinct behaviors that result, develop rules of thumb to quickly determine how a given system will behave, and derive order-of-magnitude estimates for fundamental quantities of interest, such as fluxes, collection rates and equilibration times. We pay particular attention to collection limits for micro- and nanoscale sensors, and highlight unexplained discrepancies between reported values and theoretical limits.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center