We have produced a proof-of-concept, portable electronic device capable of measuring arsenic at Army-relevant concentrations using cell-based signals. Based on this prototype, we have fabricated a first iteration, silicon-based sensor that is capable of generating an optical excitation of blue fluorescent protein (BFP).
This work addresses the engineering of an arsenic-sensing gene circuit into Bacillus megaterium, the fabrication of the microfluidics required for the retention of cells, and the integration of these microfluidics into a CMOS integrated circuit with the objective of demonstrating a proof-of-concept mixed-mode sensing device. Time permitting, we will explore mechanisms for bidirectional communication, allowing the CMOS component to return commands to the biological component. Specific objectives:
Engineer and validate an arsenic-sensing circuit into Bacillus megaterium [initial iteration complete].
Fabricate the microfluidics necessary for the retention of biological sensors to an integrated circuit [to be done].
Develop CMOS integrated circuit technology, integrate it with the biological sensors, and demonstrate the proof-of-concept for a mixed-mode sensing device [first iteration of CMOS chip complete].
Expand the capability of CMOS and cell-based circuits to enable communication from silicon to the cell, enabling programmability of cell-based circuits from ICs [stretch goal; not yet started].