Improving the sensitivity of electrochemical sensors through a complementary luminescent mode: A new spectroelectrochemical approach

Sayandev Chatterjee, Meghan S. Fujimoto, Yu Hsuan Cheng, Roli Kargupta, Jennifer A. Soltis, Radha Kishan Motkuri, Sagnik Basuray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Rapid and sensitive detection and quantification of trace and ultra-trace analytes is critical to environmental remediation, analytical chemistry and defense from chemical and biological contaminants. Though affinity based electrochemical sensors have gained immense popularity, they frequently do not meet the requirements of desired sensitivity and detection limits. Here, we demonstrate a complementary luminescence mode that can significantly enhance sensitivity of impedance or voltammetric electrochemical sensors. Our methodology involves using a redox probe, whose luminescence properties change upon changing the oxidation state. By tailoring the system such that these luminescence changes can be correlated with the capture of target analytes, we are able to significantly lower the detection limit and improve the efficiency of detection compared to the electrochemical modes alone. Our proof-of-concept demonstration, using a model system designed for Ca2+ capture, illustrated that the luminescent mode allowed us to lower the limits of detection by three-orders of magnitude compared to the impedance or voltammetric modes alone without requiring any modification of electrode design or cell configuration. Further, the linear ranges of detection are 10−8 to 10−3 M in the voltammetry mode, 10−8 to 10−5 M in the impedance mode and 2.5 × 10−11 to 10−7 M in the luminescent mode, providing a large range of operational flexibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-674
Number of pages12
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


  • Affinity sensors
  • Limit of detection
  • Luminescent sensors
  • Rapid detection
  • Sensitivity enhancement
  • Spectroelectrochemistry


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