Rapid and Selective Biomarker Detection with Conductometric Sensors

Ganganath S. Perera, Taimur Ahmed, Leah Heiss, Sumeet Walia, Madhu Bhaskaran, Sharath Sriram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The biomarker detection in human body fluids is crucial as biomarkers are important in diagnosing diseases. Conventional invasive techniques for biomarker detection are associated with infection, tissue damage, and discomfort. Non-invasive devices are an attractive alternative. Here, metal oxide (oxygen-deficient zinc oxide, ZnO) based conductometric sensors with two-terminal electrodes for rapid detection of biomarkers in real-time, are presented. This platform can be engineered for non-invasive, sensitive, and on-demand selective detection of biomarkers based on surface functionalization. The three novelties in this biosensing technique include an on‑demand target selection device platform, short (<10 min) incubation times, and real-time monitoring of the biomarker of interest by electrical (resistance change) measurements. Cardiac inflammatory biomarkers interleukin 6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are used as the model antigens. The devices can detect 100× lower concentration of IL-6 than healthy levels in human saliva and sweat and 1000× and ≈50× lower CRP concentrations than healthy levels in human saliva and sweat, respectively. The devices show high selectivity for IL-6 and CRP antigens when tested with a mixture of biomarkers. This sensor platform can be extended to selective measurements for viruses or DNA screening, which enables a new category of compact and rapid point-of-care medical devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2005582
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • antibodies
  • biosensors
  • oxides
  • thin films

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