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"The application of the Organic Electrochemical Transistor for biodiagnostics:integration with cells and enzymes"

Relatore: Róisín M. Owens- Associate Professor, Department of Bioelectronics, Centre Microélectronique de Provence, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint Etienne, France

Aula Convegni dell’Istituto IMEM del CNR di Parma
30 Marzo 2012 ore 11.30

The ultimate goal for biodiagnostics is a technology that combines rapid analysis, low cost fabrication, and sensitivity, all in a miniature format. Modern diagnostics are also required to be portable for use in point of care situations, with non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques being favored. One very promising new technology that has the potential to respond to these specific requirements is the organic electrochemical transistor (OECT). The OECT is a device that consists of a conducting polymer film (the transistor channel) placed in contact with an electrolyte. Source and drain electrodes make electrical contact with the channel and measure the hole current (drain current), while a gate electrode is immersed in the electrolyte. The use of organic electronic materials combines benefits of biocompatibility, low cost fabrication, and flexibility – all important factors for the development of diagnostics. Most importantly, OECTs have been proven to be devices that provide a very sensitive way to detect minute ionic currents in an electrolyte, as the transistor amplifies the gate current. Here, we focus on two specific applications that showcase the unique properties of this conducting polymer device: i) a novel in vitro model for assessing pathogen attack of barrier tissue and ii) a biosensor for metabolite detection. The first takes advantage of the fact that the integrity of epithelial cells that form barrier tissue in the human body may be breached through specific attack by pathogens. We will show data demonstrating the biocompatibility of the OECTs for integration with live cells along with a comparison of existing techniques used for assessing barrier tissue integrity. We further demonstrate the development of OECTs for sensitive detection of pathogens. The second area of interest is the detection of certain key metabolites such as glucose and lactate. For this purpose we couple redox enzymes with the OECT to generate highly sensitive sensors. In this case we also take advantage of novel materials such as Ionic liquid gels to push the device development towards a wireless, wearable and non-invasive device. In summary we will demonstrate the use of organic electronic technology to push the frontiers of applied and fundamental life science research.