Electrochemical methods have proven themselves feasible for monitoring of biomolecules and drugs in vivo and in vitro alike. Moreover, carbon nanomaterials have large surface area, electrocatlytic properties and tailorable surface chemiatry. However, there are many problems, such as sensitivity, specificity and stability, associated with the electrodes that are the material immediately in contact with the biological environment in these sensor devices. Our group utilizes the novel concept of integrated hybrid carbon nanomaterial electrodes to solve the above mentioned problems. This is realized by combining carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene, nanodiamonds and graphite, for instance, with diamond-like carbon (DLC) into integrated structures. With these building blocks we can create 2D tailored surfaces as well as 3D functional forms that have the potential to improve the performance in in vivo and in vitro applications that is well above the current level. By combining extensive physical and chemical characterization with electrochemical experiments and multilevel simulations it is possible to further optimize the performance of the developed sensor materials. In addition, these electrodes will serve as the first step toward new interfaces between living and electronic domains.
The research is carried out in close collaboration with Prof. Tomi Laurila group
- Detection of neurotransmitters:
In western countries, approximately 27 % of the population suffer from mental and neurological disorders. The cost of neurotransmitter related disorders is estimated to be close to 800 Billion in Europe alone, and is expected to grow with the ageing of the population. Most of these disorders are related to abnormal brain concentrations of neurotransmitters. Dopamine is one of these neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitter concentrations are very low (~100 nM) and coexist with high concentrations of other biomolecules that create interference with conventional electrode materials. With novel carbon nanohybrid materials it is possible to selectively detect neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, with high sensitivity, selectivity and sub millisecond response times. In one such approach we combined tetrahedral amorphous carbon with partially reduced graphene oxide to achieve a sensitive and selective electrochemical sensor towards dopamine.
- Fast electrochemical detection of opioids in blood sample by carbon nanohybrid electrodes – FEDOC
The use of pain killers and drug misuse is a constantly increasing societal problem as in addition to their original analgesic effect, they may cause addiction severe side-effects and even death. . Unfortunately, the blood analytics is with the present methods slow and expensive and therefore differential diagnosis of intoxication and poisoning is challenging.
Our innovation is to apply fast detection of opioids in a blood sample by electrochemical method applying hybrid carbon electrode materials developed for neural sensing. The electrodes can be miniaturized and patterned to make inexpensive and disposable electrochemical test strips or chips. One such chip is shown in the picture below. Combining these integrated novel electrode materials with permselective membranes further increases the selectivity of the electrodes. Integrated carbon nanostructured electrodes with permselective polymer membranes have been used to selectively and sensitively detect morphine and codeine, as seen in the picture below.
With these electrodes we have been able to detect morphine and codeine selectively.
The business in health sector is globally growing very fast. Our research consortium comprises leading expertise in carbon nanomaterial production, electrical engineering, electrochemistry, physical and chemical characterization, clinical pharmacology and anesthesiology.