Carbon nanotubes as optical biomedical sensors

Sebastian Kruss, Andrew J. Hilmer, Jingqing Zhang, Nigel F. Reuel, Bin Mu, Michael S. Strano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

301 Scopus citations


Biosensors are important tools in biomedical research. Moreover, they are becoming an essential part of modern healthcare. In the future, biosensor development will become even more crucial due to the demand for personalized-medicine, point-of care devices and cheaper diagnostic tools. Substantial advances in sensor technology are often fueled by the advent of new materials. Therefore, nanomaterials have motivated a large body of research and such materials have been implemented into biosensor devices. Among these new materials carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are especially promising building blocks for biosensors due to their unique electronic and optical properties. Carbon nanotubes are rolled-up cylinders of carbon monolayers (graphene). They can be chemically modified in such a way that biologically relevant molecules can be detected with high sensitivity and selectivity. In this review article we will discuss how carbon nanotubes can be used to create biosensors. We review the latest advancements of optical carbon nanotube based biosensors with a special focus on near-infrared (NIR)-fluorescence, Raman-scattering and fluorescence quenching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1933-1950
Number of pages18
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number15
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosensors
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Fluorescence sensors
  • Optical sensors
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • SWNT
  • Single-molecule detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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