PCB-based magnetometer as a platform for quantification of lateral-flow assays

Mohammad Khodadadi, Long Chang, João R.C. Trabuco, Binh V. Vu, Katerina Kourentzi, Richard C. Willson, Dmitri Litvinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This work presents a proof-of-concept demonstration of a novel inductive transducer, the femtoMag, that can be integrated with a lateral-flow assay (LFA) to provide detection and quantification of molecular biomarkers. The femtoMag transducer is manufactured using a low-cost printed circuit board (PCB) technology and can be controlled by relatively inexpensive electronics. It allows rapid high-precision quantification of the number (or amount) of superparamagnetic nanoparticle reporters along the length of an LFA test strip. It has a detection limit of 10−10 emu, which is equivalent to detecting 4 ng of superparamagnetic iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles. The femtoMag was used to quantify the hCG pregnancy hormone by quantifying the number of 200 nm magnetic reporters (superparamagnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles embedded into a polymer matrix) immuno-captured within the test line of the LFA strip. A sensitivity of 100 pg/mL has been demonstrated. Upon further design and control electronics improvements, the sensitivity is projected to be better than 10 pg/mL. Analysis suggests that an average of 109 hCG molecules are needed to specifically bind 107 nanoparticles in the test line. The ratio of the number of hCG molecules in the sample to the number of reporters in the test line increases monotonically from 20 to 500 as the hCG concentration increases from 0.1 ng/mL to 10 ng/mL. The low-cost easy-to-use femtoMag platform offers high-sensitivity/high-precision target analyte quantification and promises to bring state-of-the-art medical diagnostic tests to the point of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5433
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019


  • Biosensor
  • Magnetic
  • Sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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