The innovation engine for new materials

Kelsey Harrison

Kelsey Harrison




University of California, Santa Barbara


Tung Nguyen

Faculty Sponsor(s): 

Quyen Nguyen

Faculty Sponsor's Department(s): 

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Project Title: 

Electrochemical Aptamer-Based Organic Electrochemical Transistors for Highly Sensitive Bio-Detection

Project Description: 

Biosensors transduce molecular interactions into detectable signals, presenting a broad range of applications including drug development, environmental screening and disease detection. Electrochemical aptamer based (E-AB) biosensors use a folding based mechanism to transduce a binding interaction into an electrical signal, offering highly specific recognition of an array of targets of interest in healthcare monitoring. However, sensitivity of E-AB mechanisms is limited in current devices lacking amplification and require bulky setups. Here, a novel approach is presented to enhance detection sensitivity and permit device miniaturization by integrating the E-AB mechanism into the organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) platform. The aptamer system has been attached to the gold gate electrode of an OECT device to detect concentrations of the analyte, cocaine, using voltammetry measurements. Based on an investigation of electrochemical processes, it is anticipated that the characteristically high transconductance of the OECT will amplify electrical signals by several orders of magnitude, thus greatly improving the limit and precision of detection. The success of this study will expand opportunities for point of care testing which provides rapid results and eliminates the need for complicated and expensive instrumentation.