A graphene-based physiometer array for the analysis of single biological cells

Geraldine L C Paulus, Justin T. Nelson, Katherine Y. Lee, Qing Wang, Nigel F. Reuel, Brittany R. Grassbaugh, Sebastian Kruss, Markita P. Landry, Jeon Woong Kang, Emma Vander Ende, Jingqing Zhang, Bin Mu, Ramachandra R. Dasari, Cary F. Opel, K. Dane Wittrup, Michael S. Strano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A significant advantage of a graphene biosensor is that it inherently represents a continuum of independent and aligned sensor-units. We demonstrate a nanoscale version of a micro-physiometer - a device that measures cellular metabolic activity from the local acidification rate. Graphene functions as a matrix of independent pH sensors enabling subcellular detection of proton excretion. Raman spectroscopy shows that aqueous protons p-dope graphene - in agreement with established doping trajectories, and that graphene displays two distinct pKa values (2.9 and 14.2), corresponding to dopants physi- and chemisorbing to graphene respectively. The graphene physiometer allows micron spatial resolution and can differentiate immunoglobulin (IgG)-producing human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells from non-IgG-producing control cells. Population-based analyses allow mapping of phenotypic diversity, variances in metabolic activity, and cellular adhesion. Finally we show this platform can be extended to the detection of other analytes, e.g. dopamine. This work motivates the application of graphene as a unique biosensor for (sub)cellular interrogation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6865
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Oct 31 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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