The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Nanopore-based Sensors for Antibody Screening Applications
This invention provides OmpG nanopore-based sensors for antibody screening applications. Each OmpG nanopore is engineered to contain a heterologous peptide sequence in one or more flexible loops of the nanopore, allowing for target-specific binding and detection.
Published: 2/14/2023   |   Inventor(s): Min Chen, Joshua Foster, Minji Kim, Matthew Moore
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Life Sciences, Research tools
Plush Toys with Arrays of Textile-based Sensors for Interaction Detection
This invention provides a nature-inspired, multilayer photothermal textile and personal heated wearables, such as clothing, comprising such textile for highly efficient thermoregulation and personal thermal management.
Published: 2/17/2023   |   Inventor(s): Ali Kiaghadi, Jin Huang, Seyedeh Zohreh Homayounfar, Deepak Ganesan, Trisha Andrew
Category(s): Physical Science, Software & information technology, Engineering, Devices & sensors
Economical Surface Treatment for Harvesting Epithelial Cells from Biological Fluids
This invention provides economical, bio-interactive surfaces and surface treatment methods for selective capture of targeted epithelial cells or other cell types from cell mixtures or complex biological fluids. Preparation or fabrication of the engineered surfaces provided by this technology does not require the use of expensive and unstable biomolecular materials, and the resulting surfaces can distinguish different cell types or cells that express different levels of the same surface adhesion marker. Such engineered surfaces can be used as economical tools for assessment of cancer risk, cancer diagnosis, and tracking of the effectiveness of cancer treatments, among other potential applications.
Published: 3/7/2023   |   Inventor(s): Maria Santore, Kathleen Arcaro, Surachate Kalasin
Category(s): Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Diagnostic technology, Devices & sensors, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Research tools
This invention provides economical, renewable surfaces and related methods for selective capture of bacteria in a fluid medium and for killing and/or release of the captured bacteria. The fabrication of these surfaces or surface-treated substrate materials does not require the use of expensive biomolecules and toxic chemicals. The surfaces capture and kill bacteria on contact without leaching any toxic antimicrobial agents. The surfaces can rapidly release captured or killed bacteria via mechanical means, and thus are easily renewable for subsequent round of bacterial capture, killing and release, which makes them ideal for use in on-line bacterial sensor systems. In addition, the surfaces can be engineered to selectively capture bacteria from complex fluid media or selectively capture one bacterial strain over another.
Published: 3/7/2023   |   Inventor(s): Maria Santore, Bing Fang
Category(s): Material science, Biotechnology, Devices & sensors
Cavitation Rheology for Measuring Local Mechanical Properties in Biologically Relevant Soft Materials
Measuring the mechanical properties of a complex biological tissue is crucial to developing knowledge about its physiology. Determining these physical properties in vivo is essential to innovation in tissue engineering, as well as to investigating the effects of aging and disease. Due to the heterogeneous structure of complex tissues, localized testing is necessary since probing surface properties only provides an incomplete picture of a tissue’s mechanical properties. Cavitation Rheology Technique (CRT), a novel methodology that originated in Dr. Alfred J. Crosby’s lab, succeeds where traditional techniques fall short. CRT involves measuring the pressure to induce cavitation at the tip of a needle within a soft material. This pressure is quantitatively related to the local modulus of the material. This allows for localized testing of non-transparent materials and tissues. Furthermore, CRT adopts a simple device and system design and requires only minimal amounts of sample material and testing time. This technique has been successfully demonstrated in a broad range of synthetic hydrogels and natural tissues, and can be applied in vivo.
Published: 12/15/2022   |   Inventor(s): Alfred Crosby, Jessica Zimberlin Eastman (pat agent)
Category(s): Biotechnology, Healthcare, Devices & sensors, Devices, Diagnostic technology, Material science
A lightweight wearable electrode array for electrooculography
Tracking eye movement is integral for constructing virtual reality headsets, and in the healthcare sector, eye movement tracking is useful for diagnosing sleep disorders. Current iterations of commercial eye trackers mainly rely on visually tracking the wearer’s retina using head-mounted cameras. This approach suffers from many analytical limitations, in addition to the fact that the resulting headsets are heavy, cumbersome, and constricting.


Aside from cameras, another method to track eye movement is electrooculography (EoG), in which the electric pulses created by the seven extraocular muscles are detected by a skin-mounted electrode. While EoG is the most sensitive and error-free approach to track eye motion, a fully-integrated and portable EoG headset with five electrode leads is not known.


Here, Professors Trisha Andrew and Deepak Ganesan create a lightweight garment that can record EoG signals and, therefore, track the eye motions of the wearer. The PIs decorate a lightweight molded-foam sleeping mask with dry electrodes, and integrate a power source and processing circuit onto the headband of the sleep mask. This creates a fully-integrated and sensitive eye tracking system that can be used to create next-generation VR headsets and track eye movement in patients suffering from sleep disorders.

Published: 12/21/2022   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Trisha Andrew, Ali Kiaghadi, Seyedeh Zohreh Homayounfar, Soha Rostaminia
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Healthcare, Material science
Phyjama: Physiological Sensing via Fiber-enhanced Pyjamas
While there are many smart textile-based garments on the market that perform continuous cardiac and respiratory monitoring, they generally use flexible electronic components that are integrated with the textiles. Such clothing tends to be form-fitting and thus uncomfortable to be able to get a good physiological signal. Additionally, the garments aren’t robust, as they’re difficult to wash and the electronic components are damaged over time.


This invention, by Professors Trisha Andrew and Deepak Ganesan, enables physiological sensing with loose clothing. Smart garments incorporates two types of all-textile pressure sensors: a triboelectric sensor based on the contact between two oppositely charged fabrics, and a first-of-its-kind all-textile static pressure sensor. The triboelectric sensor is used for sensing dynamic pressure, and the static pressure measures pressure between the body and a surface, such as a bed, chair, or arms resting at a person’s side. The signals from these two types of sensors, which are connected to the electronics via conductive threads, are processed through a novel signal processing pipeline that can fit in a clothing button. Measurables include posture, respiration, heartbeat, gait, sway, and balance.


Applications for these garments are wide ranging, including sleep sensing, health monitoring, and next-generation virtual reality (VR).

Published: 2/14/2023   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Trisha Andrew, Seyedeh Zohreh Homayounfar, Ali Kiaghadi, Jeremy Gummeson
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Engineering, Electronics
Miniaturized, Cost-Effective Biosensing Devices for Point-of-Care and Therapeutic Screening Applications
This invention provides miniaturized and portable biosensing devices that employ novel spectrally-filtered photodiode pairs and on-chip ratiometric sensing. The biosensing devices allow for rapid, high-precision detection of biomolecules of interest, and can be used for point-of-care and therapeutic screening applications.
Published: 3/7/2023   |   Inventor(s): Guangyu Xu
Category(s): Biotechnology, Devices, Devices & sensors, Diagnostic technology, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Engineering, Research tools
High-Yield High-Quality Graphene by exfoliation of graphite
Graphene sheets are prized for their unusual but exciting properties, including extremely high mechanical strength and ability to efficiently conduct heat and electricity. These properties open up a myriad of applications in medicine, electronics, energy, and sensors. However, the production of graphene, which is derived from the exfoliation of graphite, is currently challenged by low efficiency and long exfoliation times.

This invention uniquely combines two techniques, flow and sonication, to overcome these challenges. A graphite suspension is first subjected to a flow process, where it is mixed with zirconium oxide pebbles. Collisions between the graphite and the pebbles modify the graphite’s surface, making it easier for the solvent molecules to “wedge” in between layers during subsequent sonication, significantly increasing graphene exfoliation time-efficiency.

Published: 12/21/2022   |   Inventor(s): H. Winter, Christos Dimitrakopoulos
Category(s): Engineering, Electronics, Devices & sensors, Clean Energy
Hierarchically Ordered Nanoscale Electric Field Concentrators for Embedded Thin Film Devices
Resistance switching devices, also known as memristive devices, represent the next generation in computing. With a typical metal-oxide-metal structure, memristors change resistance under different external biases and retain this new resistance even when power is turned off. This allows memristors to store data without needing constant power like in traditional computer memory. Memristors have other desirable properties such as low power consumption, fast switching speed, and multistate logic potential. These properties open up next generation computing applications in non-volatile memory, reconfigurable switches, bio-inspired neuromorphic computing, and radiofrequency switches. However, before these applications are enabled, significant technical challenges in memristors must be overcome. These include cycle-to-cycle instabilities in operating voltage and resistance states, which cause memory retention and device endurance issues.


Professor Stephen Nonnenmann and his laboratory address these instability issues by embedding highly ordered metal nanoislands in the memristor’s oxide switching layer. Through a unique template-directed nanoisland embedding procedure, the nanoisland diameter, spacing, and area density can be precisely controlled. The Nonnenmann lab found that through precise control of these variables, the growth of conductive filaments formed through the memristor’s oxide layer, which enable its unique properties, can be more precisely controlled, leading to a nearly 100% improvement in uniformity performance in one device case.

Published: 12/21/2022   |   Inventor(s): Stephen Nonnenmann, Jiaying Wang
Category(s): Computers, Electronics, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Material science, Devices & sensors
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