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Clemson C3B, Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina 29634  College of Engineering & Science  C3B Advisory Board
C3B Glossary of Terms

Bioelectronics
Biosensors
Biochips-Type I
Biochips-Type II (also called gene chips)
Biochips-Type III
Biochip Technologies
Microfabrication Technologies

Bioelectronics A fundamental sub-discipline that embraces the study of electron and ion transport phenomena, signaling and signal transduction, and the associated molecular and organizational structures that control and influence these in living systems. Bioelectronics may be studied at the whole animal, organ, tissue, cellular, and sub-cellular levels. In the context of the C3B, our emphasis is on molecular bioelectronics and bioelectrochemistry.

Biosensors Artificial test, measurement, and monitoring devices that use bioactive indicator molecules, organelles, cells and tissues as the recognition component in conjunction with solid state physicochemical transducers. These are analytical devices. Biosensors may be single-element or multi-element, may target a single analyte or multiple analytes. Often the term is biosensor is used to describe only the detector. A the C3B a biosensor comprises the complete functional analytical system that may include: the bio-detector, data capture and analysis instrumentation, data analysis and presentation software, and reporting.

Biochips-Type I Devices that are formed using microelectronics fabrication techniques and technologies and are given to a biological function. Example, a sub-coetaneous transmitter-receiver for tracking an animal using the GPS.

Biochips-Type II High density arrays of DNA and RNA-probes for the detection and measurement of DNA and RNA sequences. These are effectively multi-element array biosensors that are engineered using microelectronics fabrication techniques and technologies. Example, the Affymetrix P53 gene chip.

Biochips-Type III Are bio-molecular switching devices that use the natural order and templating characteristics of biologically active molecules such as DNA to build complex structures capable of transistor-like switching function. These are molecular electronic devices or molecular computers.

Biochip Technologies Multiple element DNA array devices directed at gene expression, genotyping, pharmacogenetics, and infectious disease diagnostics. Multiple element array devices using any form of biomolecular recognition or interaction and formed using techniques developed and used in microelectronics manufacture. Integrated, micro-scale lab-on-a-chip instruments for research, drug discovery and point-of-concern analysis. Integrated, micro-scale devices for the controlled release of bioactive molecules (drugs, hormones, growth factors, etc.)

Microfabrication Technologies The use of photolithography tools and various additive and subtractive processes to define patterns that permit the building up of complex structures of different materials into a functional device.

Microelectromechanical Systems The use of silicon micromachining technologies to create complex functional devices such as pumps, valves, motors, actuators and the like, on the micron scale, by the selective etching of silicon. Also used to describe devices formed on glass and plastics.

Microfluidics Technologies The movement of very small volumes of liquids within very narrow channels (100 microns or less) usually on silicon chips, but also on glass and plastic substrates. The performance of various chemical engineering unit operations such as separation, concentration, heat (heating or cooling) and mass transfer (mixing) within very narrow channels (100 microns or less) usually on silicon chips, but also on glass and plastic substrates. The development of pumps, sample collectors, connectors and the like for the handling of fluids and the small sample volumes (nanoliter to picoliter scale) associated with microfluidics.

Microreactors The selective etching of silicon to produce interconnected discrete volume elements wherein various chemical process operations may be performed. For example, a bioreactor may be formed by the immobilization of an enzyme onto microshperes that are entrained within a reactor volume. Perfusion of the enzyme's substrate through the reactor results in the formation of product.

Microwell Technologies The selective etching of silicon to produce a very high density of extremely small wells within silicon chips.

Bioinformatics The development and application of software tools to the analysis, data mining, and interpretation of large databases (e.g. those developed from genomics research and drug screenings), to derive and present useful information.

Biosensor Technologies Affinity binding for ligand fishing and biomolecular interaction studies. Point of concern diagnostics and monitoring.


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Rev 27 Oct 2007