Label-free human chorionic gonadotropin detection at picogram levels using oriented antibodies bound to graphene screen-printed electrodes

Sofia Teixeira, Robert S. Conlan, O. J. Guy, M. Goreti F. Sales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a key diagnostic marker of pregnancy and an important biomarker for cancers in the prostate, ovaries and bladder and therefore of great importance in diagnosis. For this purpose, a new immunosensor of screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) is presented here. The device was fabricated by introducing a polyaniline (PANI) conductive layer, via in situ electropolymerization of aniline, onto a screen-printed graphene support. The PANI-coated graphene acts as the working electrode of a three terminal electrochemical sensor. The working electrode is functionalised with anti-hCG, by means of a simple process that enabled oriented antibody binding to the PANI layer. The antibody was attached to PANI following activation of the -COOH group at the Fc terminal. Functionalisation of the electrode was analysed and optimized using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS). Chemical modification of the surface was characterised using Fourier transform infrared, and Raman spectroscopy with confocal microscopy. The graphene-SPE-PANI devices displayed linear responses to hCG in EIS assays from 0.001 to 50 ng mL -1 in real urine, with a detection limit of 0.286 pg mL-1. High selectivity was observed with respect to the presence of the constituent components of urine (urea, creatinine, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, sodium dihydrogen phosphate, ammonium chloride, potassium sulphate and sodium chloride) at their normal levels, with a negligible sensor response to these chemicals. Successful detection of hCG was also achieved in spiked samples of real urine from a pregnant woman. The immunosensor developed is a promising tool for point-of-care detection of hCG, due to its excellent detection capability, simplicity of fabrication, low-cost, high sensitivity and selectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1852-1865
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 7 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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