Biofuel powered glucose detection in bodily fluids with an n-type conjugated polymer

David Ohayon, Georgios Nikiforidis, Achilleas Savva, Andrea Giugni, Shofarul Wustoni, Tamilarasan Palanisamy, Xingxing Chen, Iuliana Petruta Maria, Enzo Di Fabrizio, Pedro M.F.J. Costa, Iain McCulloch, Sahika Inal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


A promising class of materials for applications that rely on electron transfer for signal generation are the n-type semiconducting polymers. Here we demonstrate the integration of an n-type conjugated polymer with a redox enzyme for the autonomous detection of glucose and power generation from bodily fluids. The reversible, mediator-free, miniaturized glucose sensor is an enzyme-coupled organic electrochemical transistor with a detection range of six orders of magnitude. This n-type polymer is also used as an anode and paired with a polymeric cathode in an enzymatic fuel cell to convert the chemical energy of glucose and oxygen into electrical power. The all-polymer biofuel cell shows a performance that scales with the glucose content in the solution and a stability that exceeds 30 days. Moreover, at physiologically relevant glucose concentrations and from fluids such as human saliva, it generates enough power to operate an organic electrochemical transistor, thus contributes to the technological advancement of self-powered micrometre-scale sensors and actuators that run on metabolites produced in the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-463
Number of pages8
JournalNature Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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