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Sensors 2008, 8(3), 1400-1458; doi:10.3390/s8031400

Electrochemical Biosensors - Sensor Principles and Architectures

1 Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH Zurich, Gloriastrasse 35, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland 2 Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, Department of Materials, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 January 2008 / Accepted: 28 January 2008 / Published: 7 March 2008


Quantification of biological or biochemical processes are of utmost importancefor medical, biological and biotechnological applications. However, converting the biologicalinformation to an easily processed electronic signal is challenging due to the complexity ofconnecting an electronic device directly to a biological environment. Electrochemical biosensorsprovide an attractive means to analyze the content of a biological sample due to thedirect conversion of a biological event to an electronic signal. Over the past decades severalsensing concepts and related devices have been developed. In this review, the most commontraditional techniques, such as cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, chronopotentiometry,impedance spectroscopy, and various field-effect transistor based methods are presented alongwith selected promising novel approaches, such as nanowire or magnetic nanoparticle-basedbiosensing. Additional measurement techniques, which have been shown useful in combinationwith electrochemical detection, are also summarized, such as the electrochemical versionsof 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 determinedby the surface architectures that connect the sensing element to the biological sampleat the nanometer scale. The most common surface modification techniques, the various electrochemicaltransduction mechanisms, and the choice of the recognition receptor moleculesall 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 enzymesinto vesicles, polymersomes, or polyelectrolyte capsules provide additional possibilities forsignal amplification.In particular, this review highlights the importance of the precise control over the delicateinterplay between surface nano-architectures, surface functionalization and the chosen sensortransducer principle, as well as the usefulness of complementary characterization tools tointerpret and to optimize the sensor response.
Keywords: review; electrochemistry; biosensors; bioelectronics. review; electrochemistry; biosensors; bioelectronics.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Grieshaber, D.; MacKenzie, R.; Vörös, J.; Reimhult, E. Electrochemical Biosensors - Sensor Principles and Architectures. Sensors 2008, 8, 1400-1458.

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