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What is a biosensor?
A biosensor is a device that uses biological receptors to selectively detect molecules, biomolecules, pathogens or ions.
These receptors tend to be enzymes, antibodies, DNA, RNA or even whole cells.
How does a biosensor work?
Biosensors work via interactions at the molecular level between the biological receptor and the analyte.
These interections are either:
- Catalytic processes, where the analyte is consumed by an enzymatic reaction
- Affinity processes, where the analyte binds to the biological receptor in the sensor
What is the difference between a biosensor and a chemosensor?
Both biosensors and chemosensors work similarly. The difference is the receptor:
- Biosensors use a biological receptor
- Chemosensors use a synthetic receptor
Therefore, biosensors are the biologic counterpart of chemosensors.
What is better, a biosensor or a chemosensor?
It depends on the application.
Biosensors tend to have a better selectivity than chemosensors, since that is a characteristic of biological receptors. But they also have a shorter lifetime.
For long, continuous applications, chemosensors are normally preferred due to their longer lifetime. Even so, the lifetime of biosensors has been improving over the last few years and continous wearable biosensors for glucose detection have been developed.