Optimized Electron Transfer in Electrochemical Sensors with Heterogeneous Self-Assembled Monolayers

Tech ID: 31699 / UC Case 2019-413-1


Square-wave voltammetry (SWV) frequency and signal gain are foundational components of a range of electrochemical biosensors, including electrochemical aptamer-based (E-AB) sensors – a class of sensors that often achieves excellent, drift-free performance (including in vivo) and can be rendered calibration-free. The signaling behavior of such electrochemical biosensors often depends on differences in electron transfer associated with the two states of the receptor: the bound state seen in the presence of target and the unbound state seen in its absence. Determining whether target binding has occurred relies on the sensor displaying significant gain (change in relative signal) at specified frequencies. For these sensors to work, the two states must undergo electron transfer at different rates. In some cases, however, target binding does not lead to a significant change in electron transfer, or the square-wave frequency dependence of the sensor's gain is very weak. These issues can hinder optimal sensor performance.


Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a new method to modulate electron transfer rates in this class of sensors such that sensor gain and the dependence of gain on SWV frequency is enhanced. This technology creates heterogeneous self-assembled monolayers that include the co-deposition of the biosensor's receptor with a second biomolecule that does not respond directly to the target on the sensor surface. This affords greater modulation in electron transfer which improves sensor performance. Sensors that work autonomously and stably for long periods of time without the need for sample preparation or calibration significantly improve the real-time measurement of specific molecules. 


Higher Square-wave voltammetry (SWV) frequency dependence 
Calibration-free measurements
Drift-free measurements
Greater signal gain


Real-time molecule measurements, including in vivo
Electrochemical aptamer-based (E-AB) sensors
Electrochemical DNA sensors

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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Other Information


electrochemical aptamer-based sensor, E-AB sensor, electrochemical DNA sensor, real-time measurement, calibration-free, drift-free, biotech, biosensor, in-vivo, target molecule

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