Biosensing with Surface Charge Modulated Graphene Field-Effect Transistors Beyond Nonlinear Electrolytic Screening

07 March 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


In field-effect transistor (FET) biosensors, charge screening in electrolyte solutions limits sensitivity, thereby restricting the applicability of FET sensors. This is particularly pronounced in graphene FET (GFET) biosensors, where the bare graphene surface possesses a strongly negative charge, which impedes the high sensitivity of GFETs owing to nonlinear electrolytic screening at the interfaces between graphene and liquid. In this study, we counteracted the negative surface charge of graphene by decorating positively charged compounds and demonstrated the sensing of C-reactive protein (CRP) with surface-charge-modulated GFETs (SCM-GFETs). We integrated multiple SCM-GFETs with anti-CRP antibodies and non-functionalized GFETs into a chip, and measured differentials to eliminate background changes to improve measurement reliability. The FET response corresponded to the fluorescence images, which visualized the specific adsorption of CRP. The estimated dissociation constant was consistent with previously reported values; this supports the conclusion that the results are attributed to specific adsorption. Conversely, the signal in GFETs without decoration was obscured by noise because of nonlinear electrolytic screening, further emphasizing the significance of surface-charge modulation. The limit of detection (LOD) of the system was determined to be 2.9 nM. This value has the potential to be improved through further optimization of the surface charges to align with specific applications. Our devices effectively circumvent nonlinear electrolytic screening, opening the door for further advancements in GFET biosensor technology.


graphene field-effect transistors
surface charge
nonlinear screening


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.