Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Nanoporous Bioelectrochemical Sensors for Small Molecule Redox Sensing in Biologic Fluids

Technology #6403

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Kevin Ward
Managed By
Janani Ramaswamy
Licensing Specialist, Medical Deviceses 734-763-9081
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

The reduction-oxidative potential (ROP) of the body is under tight biological control and can provide valuable information on the disease state and overall health of cells and the individual. In vitro monitoring of the ROP in the clinical setting was first realized in 2014 providing a valuable diagnostic tool for doctors. With the critical care market in excess of $4 Billion worldwide, the second wave of ROP monitors and diagnostics are in active development. These diagnostics range from specialty devices to highly modular lab-on-a-chip platforms. Therapies for ROP related diseases are also under active development with multiple stage 2 drugs in clinical trials. These therapies target some less prevalent orphan diseases in addition to more common diseases such as dry age-related macular degeneration, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The technology presented here allows for the robust monitoring of the ROP through the utilization of an engineered non-fouling biocompatible electrode. In the presence of biofouling agents this electrode has been shown to be significantly more robust at monitoring the ROP than current state-of-the-art electrodes and offers a greatly increased sensitivity compared to planer gold probes.

Nanoporous Sensor for Non-Fouling Biological Redox Sensing

This nanoporus redox sensor utilizes small, <20 nm, pores in a gold substrate to monitor the ROP of biological solutions. The small pore size allows for the free transport of electrons and small molecules to the electrode surface while filtering out proteins and other larger macromolecules, preventing them from fouling the surface of the electrode. The increased surface-area of the sensor, offered by the porous network, serves to significantly increase the electrical response of the electrode compared to planer or hierarchical gold substrates. This offers the nanoporus electrode an increased sensitivity compared to these traditional electrodes. Utilizing a bovine serum albumin and phosphate buffered solution it has been shown that nanoporous electrodes remain over 90% effective over the course of an hour. This is a stark improvement over traditional planer and hierarchical sensors that show a remaining 10% and 20% efficiency under the same conditions. The ease of use offered by these non-fouling electrodes and their increased sensitivity will greatly aid in the monitoring of ROP in the clinical and laboratory setting.


  • Redox monitoring electrode for biological samples
  • Non-Fouling Redox sensor for remote monitoring


  • Highly sensitive
  • Non-Fouling requiring minimal maintenance
  • Biocompatible design
  • Small sensor size minimizes costs
  • Greatly improved efficiency for monitoring biological samples