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Concept: Biosensor


Nanohole array-based biosensors integrated with a microfluidic concentration gradient generator were used for imaging detection and quantification of ovarian cancer markers. Calibration curves based on controlled concentrations of the analyte were created using a microfluidic stepped diffusive mixing scheme. Quantification of samples with unknown concentration of analyte was achieved by image-intensity comparison with the calibration curves. The biosensors were first used to detect the immobilization of ovarian cancer marker antibodies, and subsequently applied for the quantification of the ovarian cancer marker r-PAX8 (with a limit of detection of about 5 nM and a dynamic range from 0.25 to 9.0 μg.mL(-1)). The proposed biosensor demonstrated the ability of self-generating calibration curves on-chip in an integrated microfluidic platform, representing a further step towards the development of comprehensive lab-on-chip biomedical diagnostics based on nanohole array technology.

Concepts: Analytical chemistry, Ovarian cancer, Surface plasmon resonance, Biosensor


Fabrication of an enzyme amperometric biosensor for glucose via electropolymerization of pyrrole in the presence of glucose oxidase onto a hydrogel coated platinum electrode is hereby established as a viable biotransducer fabrication method. Platinum micro- (ϕ=25μm) and macro- (ϕ=100μm) electrodes were electrochemically activated and chemically modified with 3-aminopropyl-trimethoxysilane (APTMS), functionalized with acryloyl(polyethyleneglycol)-N-hydroxysuccinamide (ACRL-PEG-NHS), dipped into a polyHEMA based hydrogel cocktail and UV cross-linked. Electropolymerization of Py in the presence of GOx produced glucose responsive biotransducers that showed; (i) a 4-fold reduction in sensitivity compared with directly electropolymerized PPy films, (ii) an electropolymerization charge density dependence of biotransducer sensitivity and enzyme activity that was maximal at 1.0mC/cm(2) with an apparent K(M) of 33mM, (iii) interference screening of ascorbic acid and (iv) a temporal increase in sensitivity with storage over a 17 days period. This method has the ability to precisely and quantitatively add enzyme catalytic bioactivity to metal or semiconductor biointerfaces for applications in biosensors, bioelectronics and bionics.

Concepts: Enzyme, Electrochemistry, Type I and type II errors, Vitamin C, Electrode, Glucose meter, Biosensor, Glucose oxidase


Optical biosensing techniques have become of key importance for label-free monitoring of biomolecular interactions in the current proteomics era. Together with an increasing emphasis on high-throughput applications in functional proteomics and drug discovery, there has been demand for facile and generally applicable methods for the immobilization of a wide range of receptor proteins. Here, we developed a polymer platform for microring resonator biosensors, which allowed the immobilization of receptor proteins on the surface of waveguide directly without any additional modification. A sol-gel process based on a mixture of three precursors was employed to prepare a liquid hybrid polysiloxane, which was photopatternable for the photocuring process and UV imprint. Waveguide films were patterned on silicon substrates and characterized by atomic force microscopy for roughness, and protein adsorption. The results showed that the spin-coating polymer surface was smooth (Rms = 0.658 nm), and exhibits a moderate hydrophobicity with the water contact angle of 97 degree. Such a hydrophobic extent could provide a necessary binding strength for stable immobilization of proteins on the material surface in various sensing conditions. Biological activity of the immobilized Staphylococcal protein A and its corresponding biosensing performance were demonstrated by its specific recognition of human Immunoglobulin G. This study showed the potential of preparing dense, homogeneous, highly specific, and highly stable biosensing surfaces by immobilizing receptor proteins on polymer-based optical devices through the direct physical adsorption method. We expect that such polymer waveguide could be of special interest in developing low-cost and robust optical biosensing platform for multidimensional arrays.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Receptor, Polymer, Sol-gel, Materials science, Biosensor, Protein A/G


Polystyrene electrospun optical fibrous membrane (EOF) was fabricated using a one-step electrospinning technique, functionalized with glucose oxidases (GOD/EOF), and used as a quick and highly sensitive optical biosensor. Due to the doped iridium complex, the fibrous membrane emitted yellow luminescence (562 nm) when exited at 405 nm. Its luminescence was significantly enhanced with the presence of extremely low concentration glucose. The detection limit was of 1.0 × 10-10 M (S/N=3), superior to that of reported glucose biosensor. A linear range between the relative intensity increase and the logarithm of glucose concentration was exhibited from 3.0 × 10-10 M to 1.3 × 10-4 M, which was much wider than reported results. Notable, the response time was less than 1 second. These high sensitivity and fast response were attributed to the high surface-area-to-volume of the porous fibrous membrane, the efficient GOD biocatalyst reaction on the fibers surface, as well as the fast electron or energy transfer between dissolved oxygen and the optical fibrous membrane.

Concepts: Oxygen, Light, Sensitivity and specificity, Blood sugar, Fiber, Dietary fiber, Biosensor, Vaska's complex


Chitosan-ferrocene (CHIT-Fc) hybrid was synthesized through covalent modification and its electrochemical properties in immobilized form were studied by using cyclic voltammetry. The hybrid film exhibited reversible electrochemistry with a formal potential of +0.35 V (vs. Ag/AgCl) at pH 5.5. The Fc in CHIT matrix retained its electrocatalytic activity and did not diffuse from the matrix. This redox-active hybrid was further employed as a support for immobilization of glucose oxidase (GOx) and whole cells of Gluconobacter oxydans using glutaraldehyde on a glassy carbon electrode (GCE). The experimental conditions were optimized and the analytical characteristics of enzyme and microbial biosensors were evaluated for glucose in flow injection analysis (FIA) system. Under optimized conditions, both enzyme and microbial biosensors exhibited wide linear ranges for glucose from 2.0 to 16.0 mM and from 1.5 to 25.0 mM, respectively. Moreover, the biosensors have the advantages of relatively fast response times, good reproducibility and stability in FI mode. It was demonstrated that CHIT-Fc provides a biocompatible microenvironment for both bioctalysts and an electron transfer pathway. Additionally, integration of the enzyme and microbial biosensors into the FIA system has several advantages including capability of automation and high throughput at low cost. This promising redox hybrid can be utilized as an immobilization matrix for biomolecules in biosensor systems.

Concepts: Electron, Enzyme, Redox, Electrochemistry, Carbon, Electrochemical cell, Biosensor, Glucose oxidase


A novel glucose biosensor, based on the modification of well-aligned polypyrrole nanowires array (PPyNWA) with Pt nanoparticles (PtNPs) and subsequent surface adsorption of glucose oxidase (GOx), is described. The distinct differences in the electrochemical properties of PPyNWA-GOx, PPyNWA-PtNPs, and PPyNWA-PtNPs-GOx electrodes were revealed by cyclic voltammetry. In particular, the results obtained for PPyNWA-PtNPs-GOx biosensor showed evidence of direct electron transfer due mainly to modification with PtNPs. Optimum fabrication of the PPyNWA-PtNPs-GOx biosensor for both potentiometric and amperometric detection of glucose were achieved with 0.2M pyrrole, applied current density of 0.1mAcm(-2), polymerization time of 600s, cyclic deposition of PtNPs from -200mV to 200mV, scan rate of 50mVs(-1), and 20 cycles. A sensitivity of 40.5mV/decade and a linear range of 10μM to 1000μM (R(2)=0.9936) were achieved for potentiometric detection, while for amperometric detection a sensitivity of 34.7μAcm(-2)mM(-1) at an applied potential of 700mV and a linear range of 0.1-9mM (R(2)=0.9977) were achieved. In terms of achievable detection limit, potentiometric detection achieved 5.6μM of glucose, while amperometric detection achieved 27.7μM.

Concepts: Electron, Electric current, Electrochemistry, Platinum, Glucose meter, Voltammetry, Biosensor, Glucose oxidase


A stable, label-free optical biosensor based on a porous silicon-carbon (pSi-C) composite is demonstrated. The material is prepared by electrochemical anodization of crystalline Si in an HF-containing electrolyte to generate a porous Si template, followed by infiltration of poly(furfuryl) alcohol (PFA) and subsequent carbonization to generate the pSi-C composite as an optically smooth thin film. The pSi-C sensor is significantly more stable toward aqueous buffer solutions (pH 7.4 or 12) compared to thermally oxidized (in air, 800 °C), hydrosilylated (with undecylenic acid), or hydrocarbonized (with acetylene, 700 °C) porous Si samples prepared and tested under similar conditions. Aqueous stability of the pSi-C sensor is comparable to related optical biosensors based on porous TiO(2) or porous Al(2)O(3). Label-free optical interferometric biosensing with the pSi-C composite is demonstrated by detection of rabbit IgG on a protein-A-modified chip and confirmed with control experiments using chicken IgG (which shows no affinity for protein A). The pSi-C sensor binds significantly more of the protein A capture probe than porous TiO(2) or porous Al(2)O(3), and the sensitivity of the protein-A-modified pSi-C sensor to rabbit IgG is found to be ∼2× greater than label-free optical biosensors constructed from these other two materials.

Concepts: Acid, Optical fiber, Electrochemistry, Chemistry, Acid dissociation constant, PH, Buffer solution, Biosensor


The advances in micro- and nanofabrication technologies enable the preparation of increasingly smaller mechanical transducers capable of detecting the forces, motion, mechanical properties and masses that emerge in biomolecular interactions and fundamental biological processes. Thus, biosensors based on nanomechanical systems have gained considerable relevance in the last decade. This review provides insight into the mechanical phenomena that occur in suspended mechanical structures when either biological adsorption or interactions take place on their surface. This review guides the reader through the parameters that change as a consequence of biomolecular adsorption: mass, surface stress, effective Young’s modulus and viscoelasticity. The mathematical background needed to correctly interpret the output signals from nanomechanical biosensors is also outlined here. Other practical issues reviewed are the immobilization of biomolecular receptors on the surface of nanomechanical systems and methods to attain that in large arrays of sensors. We then describe some relevant realizations of biosensor devices based on nanomechanical systems that harness some of the mechanical effects cited above. We finally discuss the intrinsic detection limits of the devices and the limitation that arises from non-specific adsorption.

Concepts: Mass, Materials science, Young's modulus, Elasticity, Sensors, The Reader, Surface chemistry, Biosensor


Silicon carbide (SiC) has been around for more than 100 years as an industrial material and has found wide and varied applications because of its unique electrical and thermal properties. In recent years there has been increased attention to SiC as a viable material for biomedical applications. Of particular interest in this review is its potential for application as a biotransducer in biosensors. Among these applications are those where SiC is used as a substrate material, taking advantage of its surface chemical, tribological and electrical properties. In addition, its potential for integration as system on a chip and those applications where SiC is used as an active material make it a suitable substrate for micro-device fabrication. This review highlights the critical properties of SiC for application as a biosensor and reviews recent work reported on using SiC as an active or passive material in biotransducers and biosensors.

Concepts: Carbon, Engineering, Sol-gel, Semiconductor, Silicon, Silicon carbide, Silicon dioxide, Biosensor


We demonstrate straightforward fabrication of highly sensitive biosensor arrays based on field-effect transistors, using an efficient high-throughput, large-area patterning process. Chemical lift-off lithography is used to construct field-effect transistor arrays with high spatial precision suitable for the fabrication of both micrometer- and nanometer-scale devices. Sol-gel processing is used to deposit ultrathin (~4 nm) In2O3 films as semiconducting channel layers. The aqueous sol-gel process produces uniform In2O3 coatings with thicknesses of a few nanometers over large areas through simple spin-coating, and only low-temperature thermal annealing of the coatings is required. The ultrathin In2O3 enables construction of highly sensitive and selective biosensors through immobilization of specific aptamers to the channel surface; the ability to detect subnanomolar concentrations of dopamine is demonstrated.

Concepts: Sol-gel, Semiconductor, Transistor, Bipolar junction transistor, Field-effect transistor, DNA field-effect transistor, CMOS, Biosensor