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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013 Dec;65(15):1933-50. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Carbon nanotubes as optical biomedical sensors.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States.


Biosensors are important tools in biomedical research. Moreover, they are becoming an essential part of modern healthcare. In the future, biosensor development will become even more crucial due to the demand for personalized-medicine, point-of care devices and cheaper diagnostic tools. Substantial advances in sensor technology are often fueled by the advent of new materials. Therefore, nanomaterials have motivated a large body of research and such materials have been implemented into biosensor devices. Among these new materials carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are especially promising building blocks for biosensors due to their unique electronic and optical properties. Carbon nanotubes are rolled-up cylinders of carbon monolayers (graphene). They can be chemically modified in such a way that biologically relevant molecules can be detected with high sensitivity and selectivity. In this review article we will discuss how carbon nanotubes can be used to create biosensors. We review the latest advancements of optical carbon nanotube based biosensors with a special focus on near-infrared (NIR)-fluorescence, Raman-scattering and fluorescence quenching.


Biosensors; Carbon nanotubes; Fluorescence sensors; Optical sensors; Raman spectroscopy; SWCNT; SWNT; Single-molecule detection

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