Bipolar Electrode-Enabled Dual-Cell Detectors for Electrochromic Sensing


An electrochromic detector has been developed for the detection of biologically relevant metabolites and redox reactive species.  The detection methodology is both robust and specific in that it can be carried out to quantify metabolite concentrations for specific disease diagnosis.  The electrochromic detector uses redox reactions to cause a color change in an indicator reagent such as methyl viologen.  The physical design of this detector uses two cells to create a closed bipolar electrode device.  The dual cells separate reactions that take place in the “analytical cell” and the “reporter cell”, eliminating the chance for interfering reactions.  Reduction of methyl viologen from MV(2+) to MV(+) in the reporter cell occurs through electron transfer to the analytical cell and effectively translates analyte concentration to a color change.  This color change can be captured and interrogated by RGB analysis to quantify the amount of analyte present.


The dual-cell design permits a distinct design of the analytical and reporter cells providing for a wide range of applicability.  For example, the analytical cell could be a consumable, single-use element which could also be integrated with sample collection. 


Testing of the dual-cell electrochromic design has revealed the expected limit of detection for this device is 1.0 uM making it a suitable instrument for analytes with expected values in the uM to mM range.  Multiple analytes can be detected at once by multiplexing the cells.  These cells can be driven by a common voltage of 2 to 3 V allowing for battery operation of the device and field portability.  Reporter cell results were achieved within seconds of the voltage being applied.  The color change in the reporter cell is fully reversible to a colorless signal upon removal of a voltage potential, therefore the same reporter cell can be used for successive tests.


Patent Information:
Medical Diagnostics
For Information, Contact:
Tim Joyce
Technology Commercialization Manager
University of Notre Dame
(574) 631-3029
Kaiyu Fu
Paul Bohn
Wei Xu
Chaoxiong Ma
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