Novel method of pathogen detection using 2D functional materials

  • Technology Readiness Level: 4


Researchers at Purdue University have developed new biosensors to detect COVID-19 and other bacterial and viral infections. There are currently two primary diagnostic methods to detect COVID-19, RT-PCR and antigen testing. PCR testing, while accurate, is expensive, time-intensive, and requires careful sample handling. Antigen testing is faster but less accurate. The Purdue researchers’ biosensors function by measuring electrical resistance of the applied biological fluid on a 2D layer functionalized with DNA primers. In detecting the SARS-CoV-2 N gene, signal was detected at concentrations as low as 100 copies/microliter. The sensor is highly selective to this gene; the sensor shows nearly no response to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV N genes. Finally, the sensor maintained sensitivity even using saliva samples, which have a lower burden on patient comfortability than nasopharyngeal swabs.

Technology Validation: The Purdue researchers’ method had high selectivity and sensitivity for SARS-CoV-2 N genes in nasopharyngeal and saliva swabs.


  • Sensitive
  • Selective
  • Can detect pathogens with non-invasive method (saliva sample)
  • Field-deployable
  • Point-of-care diagnostic
  • Fast detection

Potential Applications

  • Biosensor for pathogen detection

Contact Information

Name: Patrick W Finnerty


Phone: 765-269-4080