JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood testing chip. Macro photograph of a microchip used for instant testing of small blood samples. The chip is based on an Isfet, an ion- sensitive field effect transistor. This is a special transistor mounted on a substrate which attracts specific ions. As the ions accumulate, there is a change in electrical potential across the transistor. This can be measured by a microcircuit, thus forming a highly-sensitive chemical detector. Several Isfets, each sensitive to a different ion, can be joined together to make a miniature analysis device. Linked to a computer, the device could produce results for a doctor in about 30 seconds.
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