Calibration-free electrochemical biosensors supporting accurate molecular measurements directly in undiluted whole blood

The need to calibrate to correct for sensor-to-sensor fabrication variation and sensor drift has proven a significant hurdle in the widespread use of biosensors. To maintain clinically relevant (±20% for this application) accuracy, for example, commercial continuous glucose monitors require recalibration several times a day, decreasing convenience and increasing the chance of user errors. Here, however, we demonstrate a “dual-frequency” approach for achieving the calibration-free operation of electrochemical biosensors that generate an output by using square-wave voltammetry to monitor binding-induced changes in electron transfer kinetics. Specifically, we use the square-wave frequency dependence of their response to produce a ratiometric signal, the ratio of peak currents collected at responsive and non- (or low) responsive square-wave frequencies, which is largely insensitive to drift and sensor-to-sensor fabrication variations. Using electrochemical aptamer-based (E-AB) biosensors as our test bed, we demonstrate the accurate and precise operation of sensors against multiple drugs, achieving accuracy in the measurement of their targets of within better than 20% across dynamic ranges of up to 2 orders of magnitude without the need to calibrate each individual sensor.

Li, H., Dauphin-Ducharme, P., Ortega, G. and Plaxco, K.W.
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Volume: 139
Number: 32
Pages: 11207–11213
Date: July, 2017
ICB Affiliated Authors: Kevin W Plaxco