Special Issue "Label-Free Biosensors: Exploring the Field"


A special issue of Biosensors (ISSN 2079-6374).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2014

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Andrew M. Shaw
Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK
Website: http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/amshaw0/
E-Mail: Andrew.M.Shaw@exeter.ac.uk
Interests: protein array screening with applications; biomarkers of recovery and biomarkers of disease; antibody array screening with applications in vaccine validation; mechanisms of allergy and auto-immune diseases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The “label-free biosensor” has been claimed by many researchers as a name for a wide variety of technologies that range from mass spectrometers to whole-cell sensors. This Special Issue of Biosensors should attempt to define the field: “a Label-free biosensor must detect a whole biologically active molecule in real time”. Also, the specificity and sensitivity common to all assays must apply.

This definition allows for techniques to use naturally occurring chromophores or fluorophores, such as enzyme cofactors, to confer specificity. In contrast, Raman, SERS or CARS signatures need to have a specific transduction technology (other than localization or imaging). A specific transduction event, such as antibody capture of the target analyte, confers specificity to a number of technologies, including electrochemistry and surface plasmon resonance. While mass spectrometry is exquisitely sensitive and will detect molecules at exceptionally low concentrations, these molecules are not intact and, without some pre-selection, biological activity is difficult to establish.

Sensitivity is also a key requirement for a label-free biosensor. A whole-cell sensor contains the biological specificity required for a biologically active sensor, but interrogation is rarely in real time. Sensitivity must be defined against the normal range for the biological species that causes the biological effect or that defines a profile. For example, in the case of a biomarker, the sensitivity should be at least as good as the lower limit of the normal range, and also have a reasonably dynamic range to accommodate the upper limit. However, biologically or medically important discoveries often occur when the detection limit is significantly lower than the normal range.

Dr. Andrew M. Shaw
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biosensors is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • sensitivity
  • specificity
  • biological activity
  • transduction
  • detection
  • electrochemistry
  • surface plasmon resonance
  • localized particle plasmon resonance
  • CARS
  • SERS
  • mass spectrometry
  • whole-cell sensors

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Displaying article 1-2
p. 358-369
by , , ,  and
Biosensors 2014, 4(4), 358-369; doi:10.3390/bios4040358
Received: 19 June 2014; in revised form: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 September 2014 / Published: 3 October 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Label-Free Biosensors: Exploring the Field)
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p. 257-272
by , ,  and
Biosensors 2014, 4(3), 257-272; doi:10.3390/bios4030257
Received: 20 May 2014; in revised form: 5 August 2014 / Accepted: 8 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
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Last update: 14 August 2014

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