Electrochemical Capillary-driven Immunoassay and System

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a novel method to couple a microfluidic device with electrochemical detection to perform automated immunoassays in a disposable platform.  The platform combines novel microfluidic devices that contain multiple channels and passive flow valves configured in a three-dimensional structure in a format that automates the steps and does not require pipetting. The entire system is designed such that it can work with potentiostats, having NFC or Bluetooth communication.

Immediate application for the device includes COVID-19 detection.

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​Immunoassays are a widely used technology for applications ranging from clinical diagnostics to environmental monitoring. The basis of the immunoassay is the binding reaction between antigen and antibody, typically performed on a surface. Either the antigen or the antibody can be the target analyte. Subsequent to this reaction, the presence of the analyte is detected by one of several methods, including colorimetry, electrochemistry, fluorescence, and chemiluminescence. Among these methods, colorimetry (also called spectroscopic) and fluorescence are the most common. Immunoassays unfortunately rely heavily on laboratory instrumentation and thus do not work well at the point-of-care or point-of-need. A related technology, the lateral flow assay (LFA) simplifies the work flow but lacks the sensitivity and specificity of the traditional immunoassay.

Electrochemical detection is not widely used with immunoassays due to challenges associated with coupling antibodies to the electrodes. However, electrochemistry is widely used for other clinical diagnostics with the handheld glucometer as the major example of this application field.


  • Faster and easier to use than existing methods
  • High sensitivity and selectivity
  • Washing and detection steps done with no additional manipulations
  • Results can be read with smartphones
  • System works with potentiostats, having NFC or Bluetooth communication
  • Broad application (see below)


  • viral infections
  • bacterial infections
  • detection of biomarkers for chronic and acute diseases
  • environmental monitoring
  • Immediate application for COVID-19 sensing
Last Updated: October 2022

​Charles Henry
Brian Geiss
David Dandy
Ilhoon Jang
Isabelle Samper
Ana Sanchez-Cano

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