Graphene field-effect transistors (GFETs) are suitable building blocks for high-performance electrical biosensors, because graphene inherently exhibits a strong response to charged biomolecules on its surface. However, achieving ultralow limit-of-detection (LoD) is limited by sensor response time and screening effect.
Imperial College London researchers demonstrate that the detection limit of GFET biosensors can be improved significantly by decorating the uncovered graphene sensor area with carbon dots (CDs). The developed CDs-GFET biosensors used for exosome detection exhibited higher sensitivity, faster response, and three orders of magnitude improvements in the LoD compared with nondecorated GFET biosensors. A LoD down to 100 particles/μL was achieved with CDs-GFET sensor for exosome detection with the capability for further improvements. The results were further supported by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and fluorescent microscopy measurements. The high-performance CDs-GFET biosensors will aid the development of an ultrahigh sensitivity biosensing platform based on graphene for rapid and early diagnosis of diseases.