Here comes a chip that can be used for a most unusual application — the study of signalling in bacterial colonies.

Researchers at Columbia University have developed a chip based on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology that enables them to electrochemically image the signalling molecules from bacteria.

In effect, they have developed chips that ‘listen’ to bacteria. “This is an exciting new application for CMOS technology that would provide new insights into how biofilms are formed,” said Ken Shepard, professor of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, Columbia University.

“Disrupting biofilm formation has important implications in public health in reducing infection rates,” said Shepard.

This is the first time integrated circuits have been used for such an application — imaging small molecules electrochemically in a multicellular structure.

More In: Science | Sci-Tech | News