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Peter Grünberg Institute / Institute of Complex Systems

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Biochemical Sensors

Biochemical sensors are of great promise to further improve the detection limits and selectivity for the quantification of biological analytes. We work on development and study of properties of bioelectrochemical sensors for analytical chemistry and biomedical research. Major topics are: 1) immobilization of single or multiple enzymes, 2) synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials and development of different types of transducers; and 3) analytical characterization of sensor devices (sensitivity, detection limit, selectivity, pH sensitivity, life time). Charge transfer between electrocatalytic centre of enzyme and transducer, which can be facilitated by electrochemical mediators and nanoelectronic building blocks is of particular interest

biochemical sensor

Biochemical Sensor Principle

Biosensor are analytical devices, which are capable of providing quantitative or semi-quantitative analytical information using a biological recognition element either integrated within or intimately associated with a physicochemical transducer. An enzyme biosensor uses immobilized biocatalysts such as a single or amultiple enzymes, which recognize, bind, and subsequently transform the target analytes (substrates). In enzymatic sensors, both the catalytic conversion of the substrate and the enzyme inhibition can be used to monitor the analyte.

Bioelectrochemical redox enzyme sensor

Bioelectrochemical Redox Enzyme Sensors

Oxidase enzyme sensors are the most often used electrochemical enzyme biosensors for quantification of clinically important parameters (glucose, lactate), drug development and neuroscience research (aminoacid oxidase, glutamate oxidase, monoamine oxidase). Despite the rapid progress in biosensor development, clinical applications of biosensors are still rare, with glucose monitoring as an exception. This is, in part, explained by lack of the electron-transfer communication between redox centres of enzymes and electrodes due to electronic insulation by protein matrix, which makes the direct electrochemistry between electrocatalytic centre and electrode unlikely. Many studies have addressed the important role of various parameters, including enzyme protein matrix, on electron transfer reactions.Design of an  efficient electron transfer pathway between electrocatalytic centre of redox enzymes and electrode is essential for the development of a reagentless enzyme biosensor.

Sensor development

Sensor Development

Different strategies have been used to establish electrical contact between catalytic centers of oxidase enzymes and an electrode. In particular, electrodes with enzymes entrapped into conducting polymers have been investigated. Other strategies are based on establishing a direct contact between electrocatalytic centre of enzyme and electrode via labeling enzyme molecules with electronic relay molecules, enzyme engineering, and chemical wiring electrocatalytic centre of the enzyme to electrode via nanoelectronic building blocks.

Nanomaterial-based sensors

Nanomaterial-Based Sensors

The remarkable sensitivity of new nanomaterial-based sensors opens up possibility of detecting small amount of analytes with high temporal and spatial resolution and investigation biological pathways that cannot be measured by conventional methods. In particular, three-dimensional matrixes of high surface-to volume ratio gold nanoparticles and nanowires provide a stable surface for the immobilization of biomolecules that retain their biological activities, probably, due to the enhanced orientation freedom. It has been proposed that confining an enzyme in three-dimensional nanomatrices on a solid substrate provides an environment that may stabilize the enzyme against denaturation and maintain its activity. Moreover, three-dimensional nanostructuring of the sensing surfaces increases the effective surface area and facilitates therefore a higher loading of enzymes on the same geometrical sensing area of the sensor. Nanostructures on electrodes can also facilitate a direct electron transfer between electrocatalytic centre and an electrode, which is necessary for the development of a reagentless biosensor. We use chemical synthesis of nanowires and nanoparticles to prepare three-dimentional nanostructured electrodes for redox enzyme biosensors.

Additional Information


Dr. Youlia Mourzina

Tel.:  +49-2461-61-2364


A. Kisner, M. Heggen, D. Mayer, U. Simon, A. Offenhäusser, Y. Mourzina, Probing the effect of surface chemistry on the electrical properties of ultrathin gold nanowire sensors. Nanoscale 6(2014)5146 -5155. DOI: 10.1039/c3nr05927h.


E. Koposova, A. Kisner, G. Shumilova, Y. Ermolenko, A. Offenhäusser, Y. Mourzina, Oleylamine-Stabilized Gold Nanostructures for Bioelectronic Assembly. Direct Electrochemistry of Cytochrome c. J. Phys. Chem. C 117 (2013) 13944–13951. DOI: 10.1021/jp401764p


S. Pud, A. Kisner, M. Heggen, D. Belaineh, R. Temirov, U. Simon, A. Offenhäusser, Y. Mourzina, S. Vitusevich,Features of Transport in Ultrathin Gold Nanowire Structures, Small 9 (2013) 846-852. DOI: 10.1002/smll.201370034 .


A. Kisner, R. Stockmann, M. Jansen, U. Yegin, A. Offenhäusser, L. T. Kubota, Yu. Mourzina,Sensing small neurotransmitter–enzyme interaction with nanoporous gated ion-sensitive field effect transistorrs, Biosensors and Bioelectronics 31 (2012) 157–163. DOI:10.1016/j.bios.2011.10.010.


A. Kisner, M. Heggen, E. Fernández, S. Lenk, D. Mayer, U. Simon, A. Offenhäusser, Y. Mourzina, The Role of Oxidative Etching in the Synthesis of Ultrathin Single Crystalline Au Nanowires, Chemistry – A European Journal 17 (2011) 9503-9507. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201100169.


D. Weber, Y. Mourzina, D. Brüggemann, A. Offenhäusser, Large-Scale Patterning of Gold Nanopillars in a Porous Anodic Alumina Template by Replicating Gold Structures on a Titanium Barrier, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 11 (2011) 1293-1296.


Kisner, A., Lenk, S., Mayer, D., Mourzina, Y., Offenhäusser, A., Determination of the Stability Constant of the Intermediate Complex during the Synthesis of Au Nanoparticles Using Aurous Halide, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113 (2009) 47, 20143-20147.


Y. Mourzina, D. Kaliaguine, P. Schulte, A. Offenhäusser, Patterning chemical stimulation of reconstructed neuronal networks, Anal. Chim. Acta 575 (2006) 281-289.


Yu. Mourzina, A. Steffen, D. Kalyagin, A. Offenhäusser, Electrophoretic separations of neuromediators on microfluidic devices, Talanta 70 (2006) 489-498.


T. Yoshinobu, H. Iwasaki, Y. Ui, K. Furuichi, Yu. Ermolenko, Yu. Mourzina, T. Wagner, N. Näther, M.J. Schöning, The light-addressable potentiometric sensor for multi-ion sensing and imaging, Methods 37 (2005) 1,  94-102.


Ermolenko, Yu., Yoshinobu, T., Mourzina,Yu., Schöning, M.J., Vlasov,Yu., Iwasaki, H.,The double potassium / calcium sensor based on the laser scanned silicon transducer (LSST) for multi-component analysis, Talanta, 59 (2003) 785-795.