Description: The Naval Research Laboratory has developed a rapid, yet extremely simple, biosensor system for detecting a wide range of biomolecules at attomolar concentrations (10-18 moles/liter or about 30 analyte, or target, molecules/drop of liquid). The compact Bead Array Sensor System (cBASS®) captures, labels, discriminates, and detects target species using magnetic microbeads, fluidic force discrimination™ (FFD), and a Bead ARray Counter (BARC®) sensor microchip. A multiplexed FFD assay can be performed in as little as 10 minutes using only two reagent mixtures and three assay steps. Assays are adaptable for extraction, pre-concentration, and identification of a wide range of analytes in complex sample matrices for a variety of applications.

Advantages/Features Include:

  • Sensitivity: > 1000 times more sensitive than current commercial immunoassay systems (fg/ml for protein toxins);
  • Speed: Sample-to-answer in as little as 10 minutes
  • Assay types: Immunoassays (bacteria, viruses, proteins); nucleic acid hybridization assays
  • Sample matrices tested: growth media, milk, juice, serum, plasma, blood, saliva, urine
  • Multiplexing: Current prototype extendable to 64 distinct targets (scalable technology)
  • Portable: battery-powered, automated prototype (less than 10 kg) with USB interface

Applications Include:

  • Healthcare, including laboratory and point-of-care diagnostics
  • Veterinary diagnostics
  • Food safety
  • Environmental testing
  • National security


  • "Design and Performance of GMR Sensors for the Detection of Magnetic Microbeads in Biosensors," Sensors and Actuators A 107(2003) 209.
  • "Rapid, Femtomolar Bioassays in Complex Matrices Combining Microfluidics and Magnetoelectronics," Biosensors and Bioelectronics 23 (2007) 191.

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