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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 17, 2018

Towards the Development of THz-Sensors for the Detection of African Trypanosomes

  • Robert Knieß EMAIL logo , Carolin B. Wagner , H. Ulrich Göringer , Mario Mueh EMAIL logo , Christian Damm , Simon Sawallich , Bartos Chmielak , Ulrich Plachetka and Max Lemme
From the journal Frequenz


Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) for which adequate therapeutic and diagnostic measures are still lacking. Causative agent of HAT is the African trypanosome, a single-cell parasite, which propagates in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of infected patients. Although different testing methods for the pathogen exist, none is robust, reliable and cost-efficient enough to support large-scale screening and control programs. Here we propose the design of a new sensor-type for the detection of infective-stage trypanosomes. The sensor exploits the highly selective binding capacity of nucleic acid aptamers to the surface of the parasite in combination with passive sensor structures to allow an electromagnetic remote read-out using terahertz (THz)-radiation. The short wavelength provides a superior interaction with the parasite cells than longer wavelengths, which is essential for a high sensitivity. We present two different sensor structures using both, micro- and nano-scale elements, as well as different measurement principles.



The authors would like to acknowledge funding of the APTERA project (GO 516/7-1, DA 1275/5-1, KU 540/54-1) by the German Research Foundation within the national priority program SPP 1857 ESSENCE. The support by CST AG / 3DS Simulia regarding Microwave Studio products, as well as the competent cooperation with Protemics GmbH for the THz near-field inspection setup are highly appreciated.


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Received: 2018-1-5
Published Online: 2018-3-17
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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