Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia




Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Ciências dos Materiais



Teacher in charge

Hugo Manuel Brito Águas

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language



To make available a broad revision of concepts behind the design and fabrication of biosensors. It is an objective of this course to introduce the students to the new sensoric technologies associated to biotechnology and microelectronics.

In the end of the course they should be able to:

1. Understand the physical, chemical and biological variables capable of being monitorized in a biological process.

2. Identify the various transduction systems available.

3. Should be able to master the main processes involved in the microfabrication

4. To propose a sensorial system capable of detecting a biological agent by means of physical, chemical and biological means involving Microelectronics.


Basic formation in chemistry and physics areas.

Students with the formation given in the first years of the courses of Materials; Nanotechnology; Physics; Chemistry; Biochemistry; Biotechnology; Biomedics and similar areas

Subject matter

Introduction to biosensors. Bioreceptors and bioafinity. Principles and system of transduction. Physical properties of biological media. Temperature, pressure, force and displacement. Piezoelectric transduction systems. The piezoelectric cantilever. Microelectronic instruments. Optical transduction systems: fiber optics, optodes, evanescent waves, Surface Plasmon Resonance.

Electrochemical transduction systems: amperometric and potenciometric sensors. Surface immobilization. Supports for immobilization. Sol-gel, membranes, silica and polymeric supports. Calorimetric sensors. Immuno essays and immunosesnors. Enzimatic sensors. Micro-organisms based sensors. DNA sensors. Develpment of a immunosensor to detect IgG. ELISA, surface immobilization, immunosensor.

Instrumentation and data processing. Building of prototypes. Interdigital electrodes and electronic-nose.

Microfabrication. Microfabricated systems. Integrated systems. MEMS. Lab-in-a-chip. Instruments for the human health. rapid tests. Instruments for the applictions in biotechnology. Instruments for the monitoring of the environment. Biochips. Nanotechnology.


 Handbook of Biosensors and Biochips, 2 Volume Set, Robert S. Marks (Editor), Christopher R. Lowe (Editor), David C. Cullen (Editor), Howard H. Weetall (Editor), Isao Karube (Editor), (2008) Wiley

Handbook of Modern Sensors: Physics, Designs, and Applications, Jacob Fraden, 3rd ed, (2004) Springer

Sensor Technology Handbook, Jon S. Wilson (Editor), (2005) Elsevier

Biosensors (Practical Approach S.) Jon Cooper, Tony Cass, 2nd Ed. (2004) Oxford University Press

John L. Vossen, Werner Kern, Thin Film Process II, Academic Press, 1991.

Cantilever transducers as a platform for chemical and biological sensors; Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol 75, nº 7, (2004)

BioMEMS: state-of-the-art in detection, opportunities and prospects; Rashid Bashir; Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 56 (2004) 1565– 1586; (online na sciencedirect)

Microfabrication Techniques for Chemical/ Biosensors ; Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 91, nº 6, (2003)

Teaching method

The UC will be taught in 14 practical classes of 2 hours supplemented by 14 practical classes of 3 hours.
The 14 practical classes will be given using the projection of slides, but also using the black board for complementary schemes to answer questions posed by students. These will be complemented by tutorial type formation given preferably using the means provided by the school: the CLIP and MOODLE.
Practical classes have essentially a laboratory component with a demontration of concepts, processes and devices.

Evaluation method

Students can be approved in the discipline, by tests or final exam. Minimum 9.5 values. (60%) The remaining 40% correspond to the evaluation of a work written in the form of project with oral presentation on a study of the development of a biosensor. The work is done by groups of 4 or 5 elements and will be evaluated individually the presentation and discussion of work.