New sensors can detect single protein molecules

Modified carbon nanotubes could be used to track protein production by individual cells.

For the first time, MIT engineers have designed sensors that can detect single protein molecules as they are secreted by cells or even a single cell.

These sensors, which consist of chemically modified carbon nanotubes, could help scientists with any application that requires detecting very small amounts of protein, such as tracking viral infection, monitoring cells’ manufacturing of useful proteins, or revealing food contamination.

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