In the last decade, saliva has been suggested as non-invasive diagnostic fluid, suitable for clinical use alternatively to blood serum and plasma. However, the clinical applicability of saliva has been hampered so far by the inadequate sensitivity of current methods to detect the lower salivary concentrations of many biomarkers monitored in blood products. Herein, a label-free biosensor based on electrolyte-gated organic thin-film transistor (EGOTFT) has been developed for the detection at the physical limit of C-reactive protein (CRP) in human saliva. CRP is a key relevant biomarker for inflammatory processes and is routinely monitored for many clinical purposes. Herein, an electrolyte-gated thin-film transistor (EGOTFT) has been proposed as a transducer of the biorecognition event taking place at the gate electrode, functionalized with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of highly densely packed capturing anti-CRP proteins. Thanks to the SAM, the biosensing platform herein proposed is endowed with ultra-high sensitivity, along with an extremely high selectivity, assessed by measuring the dose curves of CRP interacting with a bovine serum albumin-functionalized gate. Moreover, the biosensing platform is compatible with low-cost fabrication techniques and applicable to the ultra-sensitive detection of a plethora of clinically relevant biomarkers. Therefore, the EGOTFT device herein proposed, being able to operate in physiologically relevant fluids such as saliva, will set the ground to a major revolution in biosensing applications for early clinical detection.
- Electrolyte-gated organic thin-film transistor