A biosensor is an analytical device, used for the detection of a chemical substance, that combines a biological component with a physicochemical detector. The sensitive biological element, e.g. tissue, microorganisms, organelles, cell receptors, enzymes, antibodies, nucleic acids, etc., is a biologically derived material or biomimetic component that interacts with, binds with, or recognizes the analyte under study. The biologically sensitive elements can also be created by biological engineering. The transducer or the detector element, which transforms one signal into another one, works in a physicochemical way: optical, piezoelectric, electrochemical, electrochemiluminescence etc., resulting from the interaction of the analyte with the biological element, to easily measure and quantify. The biosensor reader device connects with the associated electronics or signal processors that are primarily responsible for the display of the results in a user-friendly way. This sometimes accounts for the most expensive part of the sensor device, however it is possible to generate a user friendly display that includes transducer and sensitive element (holographic sensor). The readers are usually custom-designed and manufactured to suit the different working principles of biosensors.
A biosensor typically consists of a bio-recognition site, biotransducer component, and electronic system which includes a signal amplifier, processor, and display. Transducers and electronics can be combined, e.g., in CMOS-based microsensor systems. The recognition component, often called a bioreceptor, uses biomolecules from organisms or receptors modeled after biological systems to interact with the analyte of interest. This interaction is measured by the biotransducer which outputs a measurable signal proportional to the presence of the target analyte in the sample. The general aim of the design of a biosensor is to enable quick, convenient testing at the point of concern or care where the sample was procured.
In a biosensor, the bioreceptor is designed to interact with the specific analyte of interest to produce an effect measurable by the transducer. High selectivity for the analyte among a matrix of other chemical or biological components is a key requirement of the bioreceptor. While the type of biomolecule used can vary widely, biosensors can be classified according to common types of bioreceptor interactions involving: antibody/antigen, enzymes/ligands, nucleic acids/DNA, cellular structures/cells, or biomimetic materials
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