Reliable, rapid, and sensitive measurement of biochemical reactions and interactions has always presented a formidable challenge to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, clinical laboratories, and research facilities. However, the use of innovative biosensors as part of an integrated lab system is showing great promise in alleviating many of the problems encountered in this area of scientific investigation.

Essentially, biosensors are detection devices that translate biological activity into readable electrical signals. They offer the advantage of measuring the products of biochemical reactions directly, that is, without the intervention of other measuring processes, such as those employing fluorescence, radioactivity, or colorimetric reactions.

Traditional analytical techniques explore a sample with a sensitive probe, such as a light source, obtain the response with a detector, and then convert the response into an electronic signal away from the sample. With the development of biosensors, the electronic amplification step is brought closer to the sample, resulting in...

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