Understanding the fundamental biological operation principle and providing quality healthcare represents a central challenge for biological research. Molecular or cellular imaging (including optical, electrical or magnetic imaging) is the most vital approach to visualize, measure and track the molecular structure and dynamics of both intracellular and extracellular processes in biological systems. The ability to transduce molecular events, such as receptor-ligand binding or DNA hybridization, into detectable signals in real-time is central for fundamental biological studies and medical diagnostics. Nanoscience and nanotechnology have the potential to revolutionize our ability to visualize, understand, and intervene biological processes at the molecular level. The key driving force here is the complementary length scale between biological structures that range from nanometers (proteins, DNAs) to micron scale (cells and cellular assemblies) and the unique capabilities of nanosystems to monitor, manipulate and control at such scale.
To this end, we aim to design functional nanostructures for the creation of a new generation of electrical and optical systems that can greatly expand our capability in probing, imaging, monitoring, and manipulating biological processes with unprecedented resolution (both spatial and temporal), sensitivity and precision. A particular emphasis is placed on detection of various neural transmitters and neuronal electrophysiological signals.