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New Electronic Sensor for Detection of Chemical and Biological Species

Project Quick Facts

Principal Investigator

  • Prof. MIAO Qian

    Department of Chemistry

  • Funding

    Research Grants Council of Hong Kong


A new electrical sensor for highly selective and sensitive detection of chemical and biological species in water is enabled by functionalized organic semiconductors with unique self-assembly structure.

Problem to be solved:

By combining sensory electrical output with easy device fabrication, organic field effect transistors (OFETs) promise low-cost, soft and biocompatible sensors for wearable and implantable electronic devices. One challenge for tailoring organic semiconductors in OFET-based sensors is that introduction of reactive or binding sites usually impairs charge transport pathways.


This electronic sensor is a general platform, which can be customized to detect  specific chemical and biological species in aqueous solutions for food quality control, environmental monitoring and medical diagnosis by tailoring hexabenzoperylene molecules through chemical synthesis.

Target Users:

Analytical laboratories, manufacturers of medical test kits.

Schematic drawing of the sensor with the unique self-assembly structure of organic semiconductors
Size of the sensor is similar to that of a coin

Uniqueness and Competitive Advantages:

The unique self-assembly of hexabenzoperylenes allows introduction of a variety of functional group to organic semiconductors without sacrificing charge transport pathways. The sensing device that integrates an OFET channel and a microfluidic channel can detect different chemical and biological species in aqueous solutions when the organic semiconductor molecules are equipped with the corresponding reactive or binding groups.  The device has been demonstrated to selectively detect fluoride down to a concentration of 1×10−6 M and streptavidin (a protein) down to a concentration of 3.6×10−11 M.

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