Nanometric field-effect-transistor (FET) sensors are made on the tip of spear-shaped dual carbon nanoelectrodes derived from carbon deposition inside double-barrel nanopipettes. The easy fabrication route allows deposition of semiconductors or conducting polymers to comprise the transistor channel. A channel from electrodeposited poly pyrrole (PPy) exhibits high sensitivity toward pH changes. This property is exploited by immobilizing hexokinase on PPy nano-FETs to give rise to a selective ATP biosensor. Extracellular pH and ATP gradients are key biochemical constituents in the microenvironment of living cells; we monitor their real-time changes in relation to cancer cells and cardiomyocytes. The highly localized detection is possible because of the high aspect ratio and the spear-like design of the nano-FET probes. The accurately positioned nano-FET sensors can detect concentration gradients in three-dimensional space, identify biochemical properties of a single living cell, and after cell membrane penetration perform intracellular measurements.
- scanning probe microscopy