Smart (bio)sensor based on polymer nanocomposites: design and applications

Giovanna Marrazza

Department of Chemistry ”Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI) Italy

In the last decade, polymer nanocomposites have brought about a revolution among many new hybrid materials and consequently their application in chemical sensors and biosensors. Since these polymer nanocomposites facilitate combinations of unusual properties with enhanced flexibility in structural design, they appear to be more promising than conventional materials in terms of their applications, cost, properties, shelf life, handling, and thermo-mechanical properties. Metal nanoparticles have been often incorporated in conducting polymer-based biosensor configurations with two main purposes: the fabrication of nanostructured supports and their use as signal enhancers. They possess high electrocatalytic activity, stability and biocompatibility, and they can be easily functionalized. They favor electron transfer and, as a result, higher sensitivities and lower limit of detections are attained by metal nanomaterial-modified electrochemical biosensors. The embedding of metal nanoparticles into polymer matrices represents a simple way to use the advantages of nanoparticles. This technique is one of the most efficient strategies to avoid the aggregation of nanosized metal and conserve their properties. Therefore, polymer-metal nanocomposites in which polymer phase acts, as a stabilizer, template or protecting agent show many important attributes. Numerous biosensors have been realized incorporating oligonucleotides, enzymes, aptamer, or antigen/ antibodies into the polymer-metal nanocomposites. Thus, a comprehensive overview of polymer nanocomposites based biosensor along with polymer synthesis routes, surface treatment strategies and biosensors approaches will be presented.