Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Metamaterial Sensor Platforms for Terahertz DNA Sensing

Technology #6246

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Nan Zheng
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
Metamaterial sensor platforms for Terahertz DNA sensing
13th IEEE Conference on , vol., no., pp.315,320, 5-8 Aug. 2013, 2013

Terahertz sensors are a promising technology for studying DNA hybridization due to the distinctive refractive response differences between single-strand and double-strand DNA polynucleotides. This inherent difference opens the door to highly sensitive label-free detection and identification of DNA sequences. A new sensing platform now promises to greatly increase the sensitivity of DNA detection using terahertz electromagnetic spectrometry.

Resonance structures apply terahertz frequency sensitivity

Through the use of subwavelength scatters, a metamaterial platform has been developed that promises to greatly increase the detection sensitivity at terahertz frequencies. Results have been projected using circuit analysis as well as full-wave simulations that demonstrate the performance of three alternate designs. The technology can enhance the sensitivity of detection for DNA sequencing and research, as well as analysis of other small molecules, without additional labeling compounds. This will enable terahertz sensing to be competitive with existing microarray and surface plasmon resonance technologies.


  • DNA hybridization research and diagnostics
  • Small biomolecule detection
  • Chemical detection


  • Enables label-free detection
  • High sensitivity