Nanoenabling electrochemical sensors for life sciences applications

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Nanoenabling electrochemical sensors for life sciences applications Paul Galvin,a) Narayanasamy Padmanathan, Kafil M. Razeeb, James F. Rohan, Lorraine C. Nagle, Amelie Wahl, Eric Moore, Walter Messina, Karen Twomey, and Vladimir Ogurtsov Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork T12 R5CP, Ireland (Received 24 April 2017; accepted 29 June 2017)

Electrochemical sensing systems are advancing into a wide range of new applications, moving from the traditional lab environment into disposable devices and systems, enabling real-time continuous monitoring of complex media. This transition presents numerous challenges ranging from issues such as sensitivity and dynamic range, to autocalibration and antifouling, to enabling multiparameter analyte and biomarker detection from an array of nanosensors within a miniaturized form factor. New materials are required not only to address these challenges, but also to facilitate new manufacturing processes for integrated electrochemical systems. This paper examines the recent advances in the instrumentation, sensor architectures, and sensor materials in the context of developing the next generation of nanoenabled electrochemical sensors for life sciences applications, and identifies the most promising solutions based on selected well established application exemplars.


There are increasing demands for sensing systems that are capable of fast and reliable detection of extremely small quantities of chemical and biochemical targets for applications in environment, security, food safety, and medicine. Detection of many of those targets is challenging due to: the complex media in which they are located (i.e., including many interfering species), the high sensitivities and sometimes large dynamic ranges required, the need for the devices to remain functional for extended periods for continuous monitoring applications, the increasingly small form factors of both the instrument and sensor, and the low cost of materials and manufacturing. The challenges of the above user requirement specifications demand a holistic approach to sensor and system development, which includes codesign of the sensor architecture and materials with the instrument. The specification of the sensor materials and design requires a detailed user requirements specification, while the instrument design addresses the specific characteristics of sensor material and configuration. This paper examines the complex issues involved in the development of integrated electrochemical nanosensors for analysis of complex media, and provides an analyses the emerging solutions from the extensive published scientific literature on electrochemical sensors. While electrochemical sensors can, in principle, be fabricated quickly and at low cost, the literature provides a rich source of information on the merits and issues associated with the diverse range of Contributing Editor: Venkatesan Renugopalakrishnan a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: [email protected] DOI: 10.1557/jmr.2017.290