Printed Antifouling Electrodes for Biosensing Applications
Biosensors based on miniaturized, functional electrodes are of high potential for various biosensing applications, especially at the point-of-care setting among others. However, the sensor performance of such electrochemical devices is still strongly limited, especially due to surface fouling in complex sample fluids, such as blood serum. Electrode coatings based on conductive nanomaterials embedded in antifouling matrices offer a promising strategy to overcome this limitation. However, known composite coatings require long (typically >24 h) and complex fabrication processes, which pose a strong barrier for cost-effective mass manufacturing and successful commercialization. Here, we describe a novel polymer/carbon nanotube (CNT) composite coating that can be produced from an ink containing a photoreactive and antifouling copolymer as well as conductive CNTs using fast and highly scalable printing processes. Coatings were prepared on screen-printed electrodes and characterized using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and protein fouling experiments. The coatings offered an electroactive surface area (EASA) comparable to uncoated screen-printed electrodes and retained >90% of initial EASA after 1 h of exposure to concentrated bovine serum albumin solution, while uncoated electrodes decreased to <20% of initial EASA after the same treatment. Utilizing the universal crosslinking reaction of the polymer coating, antibodies against the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) were photochemically immobilized on the electrodes. Functionalized electrodes were fabricated in <2 h and were successfully used to quantify nanogram-range concentrations of CRP spiked in undiluted human blood serum using a sandwich-immunoassay with electrochemical read-out, demonstrating the high potential of the platform for biosensing applications.
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 51, 56578–56584
The research was funded by the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) of the University of Basel under the project acronym “PEPS”.