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      Electrochemical Biosensors - Sensor Principles and Architectures


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          Quantification of biological or biochemical processes are of utmost importance for medical, biological and biotechnological applications. However, converting the biological information to an easily processed electronic signal is challenging due to the complexity of connecting an electronic device directly to a biological environment. Electrochemical biosensors provide an attractive means to analyze the content of a biological sample due to the direct conversion of a biological event to an electronic signal. Over the past decades several sensing concepts and related devices have been developed. In this review, the most common traditional techniques, such as cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, chronopotentiometry, impedance spectroscopy, and various field-effect transistor based methods are presented along with selected promising novel approaches, such as nanowire or magnetic nanoparticle-based biosensing. Additional measurement techniques, which have been shown useful in combination with electrochemical detection, are also summarized, such as the electrochemical versions of surface plasmon resonance, optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy, ellipsometry, quartz crystal microbalance, and scanning probe microscopy.

          The signal transduction and the general performance of electrochemical sensors are often determined by the surface architectures that connect the sensing element to the biological sample at the nanometer scale. The most common surface modification techniques, the various electrochemical transduction mechanisms, and the choice of the recognition receptor molecules all influence the ultimate sensitivity of the sensor. New nanotechnology-based approaches, such as the use of engineered ion-channels in lipid bilayers, the encapsulation of enzymes into vesicles, polymersomes, or polyelectrolyte capsules provide additional possibilities for signal amplification.

          In particular, this review highlights the importance of the precise control over the delicate interplay between surface nano-architectures, surface functionalization and the chosen sensor transducer principle, as well as the usefulness of complementary characterization tools to interpret and to optimize the sensor response.

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              Electrochemical biosensors: towards point-of-care cancer diagnostics.

              Wide-scale point-of-care diagnostic systems hold great promise for early detection of cancer at a curable stage of the disease. This review discusses the prospects and challenges of electrochemical biosensors for next-generation cancer diagnostics. Electrochemical biosensors have played an important significant role in the transition towards point-of-care diagnostic devices. Such electrical devices are extremely useful for delivering the diagnostic information in a fast, simple, and low cost fashion in connection to compact (hand-held) analyzers. Modern electrochemical bioaffinity sensors, such as DNA- or immunosensors, offer remarkable sensitivity essential for early cancer detection. The coupling of electrochemical devices with nanoscale materials offers a unique multiplexing capability for simultaneous measurements of multiple cancer markers. The attractive properties of electrochemical devices are extremely promising for improving the efficiency of cancer diagnostics and therapy monitoring. With further development and resources, such portable devices are expected to speed up the diagnosis of cancer, making analytical results available at patient bedside or physician office within few minutes.

                Author and article information

                Sensors (Basel)
                Sensors (Basel)
                Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
                Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
                March 2008
                07 March 2008
                : 8
                : 3
                : 1400-1458
                [1 ] Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH Zurich, Gloriastrasse 35, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland E-mail: grieshaber@ 123456biomed.ee.ethz.ch . E-mail: mackenzie@ 123456biomed.ee.ethz.ch . E-mail: janos.voros@ 123456biomed.ee.ethz.ch
                [2 ] Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, Department of Materials, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland E-mail: erik.reimhult@ 123456mat.ethz.ch
                Author notes

                The authors have contributed equally to the paper.

                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
                © 2008 by MDPI

                Reproduction is permitted for noncommercial purposes.

                : 23 January 2008
                : 28 January 2008
                Review Paper

                Biomedical engineering
                Biomedical engineering
                electrochemistry, review, biosensors, bioelectronics


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