Anal. Chem. 91 (22) 14697-14704 [2019-11-19; online 2019-11-07]
Despite a large number of publications describing biosensors based on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), little attention has been paid to the stability and reproducibility issues of the sensor interfaces. In this work, the stability and reproducibility of faradaic EIS analyses on the aptamer/mercaptohexanol (MCH) self-assembled monolayer (SAM)-functionalized gold surfaces in ferri- and ferrocyanide solution were systematically evaluated prior to and after the aptamer-probe DNA hybridization. It is shown that the EIS data exhibited significant drift, and this significantly affected the reproducibility of the EIS signal of the hybridization. As a result, no significant difference between the charge transfer resistance ( RCT) changes induced by the aptamer-target DNA hybridization and that caused by the drift could be identified. A conditioning of the electrode in the measurement solution for more than 12 h was required to reach a stable RCT baseline prior to the aptamer-probe DNA hybridization. The monitored drift in RCT and double layer capacitance during the conditioning suggests that the MCH SAM on the gold surface reorganized to a thinner but more closely packed layer. We also observed that the hot binding buffer used in the following aptamer-probe DNA hybridization process could induce additional MCH and aptamer reorganization, and thus further drift in RCT. As a result, the RCT change caused by the aptamer-probe DNA hybridization was less than that caused by the hot binding buffer (blank control experiment). Therefore, it is suggested that the use of high temperature in the EIS measurement should be carefully evaluated or avoided. This work provides practical guidelines for the EIS measurements. Moreover, because SAM-functionalized gold electrodes are widely used in biosensors, for example, DNA sensors, an improved understanding of the origin of the observed drift is very important for the development of well-functioning and reproducible biosensors.