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Luisa Torsi research interests are mostly focused on electronic sensing involving novel materials and device structures. The peculiar attitude of her approach is to span fields by contributing to electronic and electrochemical sensors, organic and bio-electronics, analytical chemistry, device physics, material chemistry and to gather insights through the cross contaminations from all these fields. This has been possible also thanks to a number of national and international collaborations and lately to the contributions of the multidisciplinary bio-electronics team. The main fields of application are low cost and large area flexible plastic devices and disposable chemical and biological sensors.


Luisa Torsi invited speaker at Faraday Discussion 174.

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Surface architectures for analytical purposes

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Reviews critically discuss crucial issues which affect more or less all classes of sensors and in some cases still limit their performances and/or prevent their use in real life; important aspects of these are immobilization of the recognition element, which should preserve its chemical and/or biological functionality, and the integration between recognition element and transducer. Moreover, insights are provided on problems related to miniaturization, stability, reliability, and lowcost production, and future perspectives for each class of sensing device are emphasized.

Interfacial electronic effects in functional biolayers integrated into organic field-effect transistors

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Biosystems integration into an organic field-effect transistor (OFET) structure is achieved by spin coating phospholipid or protein layers between the gate dielectric and the organic semiconductor. An architecture directly interfacing supported biological layers to the OFET channel is proposed and, strikingly, both the electronic properties and the biointerlayer functionality are fully retained.

The platform bench tests involved OFETs integrating phospholipids and bacteriorhodopsin exposed to 1-5% anesthetic doses that reveal drug-induced changes in the lipid membrane. This result challenges the current anesthetic action model relying on the so far provided evidence that doses much higher than clinically relevant ones (2.4%) do not alter lipid bilayers' structure significantly. Furthermore, a streptavidin embedding OFET shows label-free biotin electronic detection at 10 parts-per-trillion concentration level, reaching state-of-the-art fluorescent assay performances. These examples show how the proposed bioelectronic platform, besides resulting in extremely performing biosensors, can open insights into biologically relevant phenomena involving membrane weak interfacial modifications.
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Carbon based materials for electronic bio-sensing

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Bio-sensing represents one of the most attractive applications of carbon material based electronic devices; nevertheless, the complete integration of bioactive transducing elements still represents a major challenge, particularly in terms of preserving biological function and specificity while maintaining the sensor's electronic performance. This review highlights recent advances in the realization of field-effect transistor (FET) based sensors that comprise a bio-receptor within the FET channel. A birds-eye view will be provided of the most promising classes of active layers as well as different device architectures and methods of fabrication. Finally, strategies for interfacing bio-components with organic or carbon nano-structured electronic active layers are reported.

 

Organic Thin Film Transistors as Plastic Sensors

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Organic transistors, as discrete elements or implemented in plastic circuits, are challenging, field-effect-based sensing systems.

A sensitivity-enhanced field-effect chiral sensor. Nature Materials 7, 412-417 (2008)

Organic thin-film transistor sensors have been recently attracting the attention of the plastic electronics community for their potential exploitation in novel sensing platforms. Specificity and sensitivity are however still open issues: in this respect chiral discrimination being a scientific and technological achievement in itself—is indeed one of the most challenging sensor bench-tests...

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Organic Thin Film Transistors as Analytical and Bioanalytical Sensors

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Prof. Torsi was guest editor of a “Analytical and Bio-Analytical Chemistry” special issue titled Organic Thin Film Transistors as Analytical and Bioanalytical Sensors published in 2005. The issue presents selected contributions from groups working in different areas of the Organic Thin Film Transistor research field. Devices with different types of active layers, from phthalocyanine to pentacene or thiophene-based polymers and oligomers are discussed as sensors for different classes of analytes.

Professor Luisa Torsi has been awarded with the 2010 Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award for Analytical Sciences.

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This marks the first time that renowned award has been given to a woman and to a scientist in Italy. The award, will be presented at the EUCHEMS Congress in Nuremberg, Germany, on August 31, 2010. For more than 20 years, the Heinrich-Emanuel-Merck Award has been recognizing scientists under the age of 45 whose work focuses on new methods in chemical analysis and the deployment thereof in applications aimed at improving the quality of human life, for example in fields such as environmental protection, life sciences or the biosciences.

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L’intervista di Margherita Cappelletto apparso su OggiScienza il 3 Gennaio 2012 riassume i temi principali di ricerca della professoressa Luisa Torsi tracciandone il percorso professionale e conferma il suo ruolo di punta nella comunita’ scientifica.

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Luisa Torsi is listed among the "Top Italian Scientist (TIS)" of the Virtual Italian Academy.

Intervista di Antonio V. Gelormini apparsa su Affari italiani il 10 maggio 2012. Guarda il video

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L’intervista di Laura Margottini pubblicata su Le Scienze (luglio 2012) riassume importanti risultati ottenuti dal gruppo di ricerca guidato dalla Prof.ssa Luisa Torsi nel campo dei  lab-on-a-chip.

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Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth mentioned Prof. Luisa Torsi among the enhancing excellence in Europe, during the conference on "Marie Curie Actions for an Innovative Europe" celebrating the 50 000th Marie Curie research fellow.