Fabrication of photo-electrochemical biosensors for ultrasensitive screening of mono-bioactive molecules: The effect of geometrical structures and crystal surfaces

Naeem Akhtar, Mohammed Y. Emran, Mohamed A. Shenashen, Hesham Khalifa, Tetsuya Osaka, Ahmed Faheem, Takayuki Homma, Hiroshi Kawarada*, Sherif A. El-Safty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


The controlled design of biosensors based on the photo-electrochemical technique with high selectivity, sensitivity, and rapid response for monitoring of mono-bioactive molecules, particularly dopamine (DA) levels in neuronal cells is highly necessary for clinical diagnosis. Hierarchical carbon-, nitrogen-doped (CN) nickel oxide spear thistle (ST) flowers associated in single-heads (S), and symmetric and asymmetric-double heads (D and A, respectively) that are tightly connected through a micrometric dipole-like rod or trunk were fabricated by using a simple synthetic protocol. The CN-ST flower heads were decorated with dense nano-tubular like hedgehog needle skins in vertical alignments. These designated architectures are key features for creating biosensor surface electrodes for photo-electrochemical, ultrasensitive screening of mono-bioactive molecules. The exceptional electrode designs produced numerous catalytically active sites, large surface area, and high electron-transfer mobility. The active coating of carbon-nitrogen nanospheres significantly enhanced the photo-electrocatalytic activity of the prepared biosensor electrodes and prevented leakage of photocatalytic activity under long-term exposure to irradiation. Among all photo-electrochemical assays, the biosensors showed significant sensitivity and selectivity for DA in the presence of interfering molecules such as ascorbic acid (AA), uric acid (UA), adrenaline (A), and noradrenaline (NA). The photo-electrochemical property of the CN-SST-{110} crystal surface electrode showed significant sensing performance for DA in terms of unimpeded diffusion pathways, a wide concentration-detection range, and a low detection limit, even in the presence of potentially interfering molecules compared with other electrode-modified CN-DST-{111} and CN-AST-{101} crystal surfaces. Furthermore, the CN-SST photo-biosensor electrode shows potential in the selective and sensitive determination of DA in real samples, such as human serum and secreted DA from living cells. This finding indicates that the hierarchical ST biosensor may enable analytical discrimination and monitoring of DA and can be employed for clinical diagnosis application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7985-7996
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Fabrication of photo-electrochemical biosensors for ultrasensitive screening of mono-bioactive molecules: The effect of geometrical structures and crystal surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this