This thesis presented the study of carbon-based materials for ultra-sensitive molecular sensing.
Reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO), a 2-dimensional one-atomic layer thick carbon material, had the advantage of low-cost, aqueous and industrial-scalable production route. Using rGO as the transducer platform could potentially lower the cost of sensors down to a few dollars per chip. However, there were still limitations in rGO that prevented its widespread usage as a biosensor transducer or in electronics: its low electrical conductivity and large electrical deviations. This thesis was structured to understand and solve these problems for transducer application. The thesis could be broken down into 3 parts:
The first part of the thesis presented the critical review of the background and limitations of graphene research, followed by the background and importance of biosensor developments for the detection of sweat sodium ions and circulatory Interleukin-6 proteins.
The second part of the thesis tested the hypothesis that the rGO limitations could be eliminated to create a highly sensitive biosensor transducer via (A) improving rGO synthesis (B) pristine Carbon Nanotubes-rGO hybrid film and (C) growth of rGO. The mechanism of ultra-large graphene oxide synthesis and graphene oxide growth was also elucidated in this section.
The third part of the thesis then presented the fabrication and test of the practical and homogenous carbon-based biosensor using the transducer synthesized earlier. The thesis showed that through proving the hypothesis correct, it enabled the synthesis of an all organic sodium ion sensor with integrated pump and an ultra-sensitive interleukin-6 bio-sensor. Both of these novel sensors were able to detect the respective molecules in their physiological ranges.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.