Affiliation: Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Nanotechnology Unit, Perlickstrasse 1, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.
A combination of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems and nanoscale structures allows for the creation of novel miniaturized devices, which broaden the boundaries of the diagnostic approaches. Some materials possess unique properties at the nanolevel, which are different from those in bulk materials. In the last few years these properties became a focus of interest for many researchers, as well as methods of production, design and operation of the nanoobjects. Intensive research and development work resulted in numerous inventions exploiting nanotechnology in miniaturized systems. Modern technical and laboratory equipment allows for the precise control of such devices, making them suitable for sensitive and accurate detection of the analytes. The current review highlights recent patents in the field of nanotechnology in microdevices, applicable for medical, environmental or food analysis. The paper covers the structural and functional basis of such systems and describes specific embodiments in three principal branches: application of nanoparticles, nanofluidics, and nanosensors in the miniaturized systems for advanced analytics and diagnostics. This overview is an update of an earlier review article.