Self-Powered Detection of Glucose by Enzymatic Glucose/Oxygen Fuel Cells on Printed Circuit Boards

Carla Gonzalez-Solino, Elena Bernalte, Clara Bayona Royo, Richard Bennett, Dónal Leech, Mirella Di Lorenzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Monitoring glucose levels in physiological fluids can help prevent severe complications associated with hypo- and hyper-glycemic events. Current glucose-monitoring systems require a three-electrode setup and a power source to function, which can hamper the system miniaturization to the patient discomfort. Enzymatic fuel cells (EFCs) offer the opportunity to develop self-powered and minimally invasive glucose sensors by eliminating the need for an external power source. Nevertheless, practical applications demand for cost-effective and mass-manufacturable EFCs compatible with integration strategies. In this study, we explore for the first time the use of gold electrodes on a printed circuit board (PCB) for the development of an EFC and demonstrate its application in saliva. To increase the specific surface area, the PCB gold-plated electrodes were modified with porous gold films. At the anode, glucose oxidase is immobilized with an osmium redox polymer that serves as an electron-transfer mediator. At the cathode, bilirubin oxidase is adsorbed onto the porous gold surface with a blocking agent that prevents parasitic reactions while maintaining the enzyme catalytic activity. The resulting EFC showed a linear response to glucose in phosphate buffer within the range 50 μM to 1 mM, with a sensitivity of 14.13 μA cm-2 mM-1. The sensor was further characterized in saliva, showing the linear range of detection of 0.75 to 2 mM, which is within the physiological range, and sensitivity of 21.5 μA cm-2 mM-1. Overall, this work demonstrates that PCBs are suitable platforms for EFCs, paving the way for the development of fully integrated systems in a seamless and miniaturized device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26704-26711
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number23
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021


  • enzymatic fuel cell
  • glucose monitoring
  • highly porous gold
  • printed circuit board
  • self-powered detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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