Printed circuit boards (PCBs) offer a promising platform for the development of electronics-assisted biomedical diagnostic sensors and microsystems. The long-standing industrial basis offers distinctive advantages for cost-effective, reproducible, and easily integrated sample-in-answer-out diagnostic microsystems. Nonetheless, the commercial techniques used in the fabrication of PCBs produce various contaminants potentially degrading severely their stability and repeatability in electrochemical sensing applications. Herein, we analyse for the first time such critical technological considerations, allowing the exploitation of commercial PCB platforms as reliable electrochemical sensing platforms. The presented electrochemical and physical characterisation data reveal clear evidence of both organic and inorganic sensing electrode surface contaminants, which can be removed using various pre-cleaning techniques. We demonstrate that, following such pre-treatment rules, PCB-based electrodes can be reliably fabricated for sensitive electrochemical biosensors. Herein, we demonstrate the applicability of the methodology both for labelled protein (procalcitonin) and label-free nucleic acid (E. coli-specific DNA) biomarker quantification, with observed limits of detection (LoD) of 2 pM and 110 pM, respectively. The proposed optimisation of surface pre-treatment is critical in the development of robust and sensitive PCB-based electrochemical sensors for both clinical and environmental diagnostics and monitoring applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number793
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2021


  • Printed circuit board
  • Electrochemical Biosensor
  • Lab-on-PCB
  • Electrode Pretreatment


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