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Nano Lett. 2019 Apr 10;19(4):2291-2298. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04775. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Real-Time Detection of Markers in Blood.

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Nature Inspired Materials Processing Research Center, Department of Energy Science , Sungkyunkwan University , Suwon 16419 , Republic of Korea.
Department of Dermatology, Cutaneous Biology Research Institute , Yonsei University College of Medicine , Seoul , 03722 , Republic of Korea.


The real-time selective detection of disease-related markers in blood using biosensors has great potential for use in the early diagnosis of diseases and infections. However, this potential has not been realized thus far due to difficulties in interfacing the sensor with blood and achieving transparent circuits that are essential for detecting of target markers (e.g., protein, ions, etc.) in a complex blood environment. Herein, we demonstrate the real-time detection of a specific protein and ion in blood without a skin incision. Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology was used to fabricate silicon micropillar array (SiMPA) electrodes with a height greater than 600 μm, and the surface of the SiMPA electrodes was functionalized with a self-assembling artificial peptide (SAP) as a receptor for target markers in blood, i.e., cholera toxin (CTX) and mercury(II) ions (Hg). The detection of CTX was investigated in both in vitro (phosphate-buffered saline and human blood serum, HBO model) and in vivo (mouse model) modes via impedance analysis. In the in vivo mode, the SiMPA pierces the skin, comes into contact with the blood system, and creates comprehensive circuits that include all the elements such as electrodes, blood, and receptors. The SiMPA achieves electrically transparent circuits and, thus, can selectively detect CTX in the blood in real time with a high sensitivity of 50 pM and 5 nM in the in vitro and in vivo modes, respectively. Mercury(II) ions can also be detected in both the in vitro and the in vivo modes by changing the SAP. The results illustrate that a robust sensor that can detect a variety of molecular species in the blood system in real time that will be helpful for the early diagnosis of disease and infections.


Real-time detection; blood; comprehensive circuit; micropillar; sensor

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