Design of stretchable holey gold biosensing electrode for real-time cell monitoring

Yunzhi Ling, Quanxia Lyu, Qingfeng Zhai, Bowen Zhu, Shu Gong, Tian Zhang, Jennifer Dyson, Wenlong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In bioelectronics, gold thin films have been widely used as sensing electrodes for probing biological events due to their high conductivity, chemical inertness, biocompatibility, wide electrochemical window, and facile surface modification. However, they are intrinsically not stretchable, which limits their applications in detecting biological reactions when a soft biological system is mechanically deformed. Here, we report on a nanosphere lithography-based strategy to generate ordered microhole gold thin-film electrodes supported by elastomeric substrates. Both experimental and theoretical studies show that the presence of microholes substantially suppresses the catastrophic crack propagation-the main reason for electrical failure for a continuous gold film. As a result, the holey gold film achieves a ∼94% stretchable limit, after which the conductivity is lost, in contrast to ∼4% for the nonstructured counterpart. Furthermore, the pinhole gold electrode is successfully used to monitor the H2O2 released from living cells under dynamic stretching conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3171
Number of pages7
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2020


  • biosensors
  • electrochemistry
  • holey gold film
  • nanosphere lithography
  • stretchable electrode

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