Highly Sensitive Detection of Protein Biomarkers with Organic Electrochemical Transistors

Ying Fu, Naixiang Wang, Anneng Yang, Helen Ka wai Law, Li Li, Feng Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


KGaA, Weinheim. The analysis of protein biomarkers is of great importance in the diagnosis of diseases. Although many convenient and low-cost electrochemical approaches have been extensively investigated, they are not sensitive enough in the detection of protein biomarkers with low concentrations in physiological environments. Here, this study reports a novel organic-electrochemical-transistor-based biosensor that can successfully detect cancer protein biomarkers with ultrahigh sensitivity. The devices are operated by detecting electrochemical activity on gate electrodes, which is dependent on the concentrations of proteins labeled with catalytic nanoprobes. The protein sensors can specifically detect a cancer biomarker, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, down to the concentration of 10−14g mL−1, which is several orders of magnitude lower than the detection limits of previously reported electrochemical approaches. Moreover, the devices can successfully differentiate breast cancer cells from normal cells at various concentrations. The ultrahigh sensitivity of the protein sensors is attributed to the inherent amplification function of the organic electrochemical transistors. This work paves a way for developing highly sensitive and low-cost biosensors for the detection of various protein biomarkers in clinical analysis in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1703787
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2017


  • biosensors
  • organic electrochemical transistors
  • protein biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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