An explosion with rays of light bursting from it.

NanoBang™ converts a visual signal into an acoustic one.

Diagnostic tool goes off with a bang

CSIRO's NanoBang™ is a medical diagnostic tool that is both quick and quantitative.

  • 9 April 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011

NanoBang™ exploits the properties of nanomaterials to create a simple-to-use sensor that takes conventional 'dip stick' tests (such as a home pregnancy test) to the next level.

While users of pregnancy tests are only looking for a yes/no answer, doctors diagnosing, for example, the severity of a heart attack, need to know 'how much?'

While such quantitative tests do exist, they can take hours. NanoBang™ gives a quantitative answer quickly and simply.

What CSIRO did

CSIRO's technique is, at its heart, much like other immunochromatographic tests. The molecule of interest, known as the analyte, is trapped on the test strip by one protein and revealed with another, usually by a change in colour. Roughly speaking, the more analyte present, the darker the colour produced.

Such tests work well when only a yes/no answer is required. The problem is developing a simple method to quantify the test.

Most current quantitative systems use optical detection methods to give a read-out - a computer scans the test strip and analyses the intensity of the colour. This is relatively expensive and only gives an approximate indication of the concentration of the analyte.

NanoBang™ exploits the properties of nanomaterials to create a simple-to-use sensor.

CSIRO is developing its NanoBang™ technology to solve these problems by making the read-out technology cheap and simple to produce.

Outcomes

NanoBang™ is a unique method of determining the level of analyte that does not use optical detection. Rather, to detect the presence of analyte, the technology uses the chemically amplified acoustic energy generated when the coloured part of the test strip is exposed to a brief burst of light. 

The audible signal is then converted into an electronic one and subjected to mathematical analysis.

CSIRO researchers have discovered that this audio signal directly correlates with the amount of analyte trapped on the test strip.

Further applications

The technology behind NanoBang™ is not limited to human medicine. CSIRO researchers also see applications in:

  • veterinary science
  • agriculture
  • environmental monitoring.

Read more about CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering.

  • NanoBang™ is a trademark of CSIRO Australia.