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Title: Development of a low-cost graphene-based impedance biosensor
Author: Popescu, Sinziana Mirela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 0030
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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The current applicability and accuracy of point-of-care devices is limited, with the need of future technologies to simultaneously target multiple analytes in complex human samples. Graphene’s discovery has provided a valuable opportunity towards the development of high performance biosensors. The quality and surface properties of graphene devices are critical for biosensing applications with a preferred low contact resistance interface between metal and graphene. However, each graphene production method currently results in inconsistent properties, quality and defects thus limiting its application towards mass production. Also, post-production processing, patterning and conventional lithography-based contact deposition negatively impact graphene properties due to chemical contamination. The work of this thesis focuses on the development of fully-functional, label-free graphene-based biosensors and a proof-of-concept was established for the detection of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in aqueous solution using graphene platforms. Extensive work was carried out to characterize different graphene family nanomaterials in order to understand their potential for biosensing applications. Two graphene materials, obtained via a laser reduction process, were selected for further investigations: reduced graphene oxide (rGO) and laser induced graphene from polyimide (LIG). Electrically conductive, porous and chemically active to an extent, these materials offer the advantage of simultaneous production and patterning as capacitive biosensing structures, i.e. interdigitated electrode arrays (IDE). Aiming to enhance the sensitivity of these biosensors, a novel, radio-frequency (RF) detection method was investigated and compared with conventional electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) on a well-known biocompatible material: gold (standard). It was shown that the RF detection methods require careful design and testing setup, with conventional EIS performing better in the given conditions. The method was further used on rGO and LIG IDE devices for the electrochemical impedance detection of PSA to assess the feasibility of the graphene based materials as biosensors. The graphene-based materials were successfully functionalized via the available carboxylic groups, using the EDC-NHS chemistry. Despite the difficulty of producing reproducible graphene-based electrodes, highly required for biosensor development, extensive testing was carried out to understand their feasibility. The calibration curves obtained via successive PSA addition showed a moderate-to-high ii sensitivity of both rGO and LIG IDE. However, further adsorption and drift testing underlined some major limitations in the case of LIG, due to its complex morphology and large porosity. To enable low contact resistance to these biosensors, the electroless nickel coating process is shown to be compatible with various graphene-based materials. This was demonstrated by tuning the chemical nickel bath and method conditions for pristine graphene and rGO for nickel contacts deposition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available