Nanowell Array Sensor Chip for Biosensing in Blood Samples

Entire multiwell plate chip and a schematic view of the 2-μm nanowell array sensor. The sensor is comprised of an array of 25 nanowells etched on the overlapping electrode surface.

Invention Summary:

The current gold-standard for protein quantification in laboratory tests is enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which typically relies on optical fluorescence, and labeling of complementary molecules, resulting in lengthier and more costly testing.

A team of scientists from Rutgers and U Penn has invented a nanowell array sensor system capable of performing electrochemical impedance spectroscopy-based biomarker sensing in the blood. Probe antibodies can be uniformly immobilized in the nanowell by electric field focusing to minimize unwanted nonspecific binding or aggregation of antibodies. Binding of biomarkers to the immobilized antibodies in the nanowells causes a change of impedance. A wafer-scale sensing configuration with 40-nm-electrode gap has been fabricated and tested for detecting TNF-α with a dynamic sensitive range of 10-500 ng/l in mouse serum. This sensor can also be used for detecting exposure to an infection or immunity to an infection.

Market Applications:

  • Biomarker detection in the blood, e.g., IL-6, IL-8, IL-1, TNFα, etc.
  • Serology testing of antibodies


  • Label-free detection using changes in impedance as the read out
  • Works under high salt condition (e.g. in serum)
  • Highly sensitive

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent Pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.


Mahmoodi SR, Xie P, Allen M and Javanmard M. Multiwell Plate Impedance analysis of a Nanowell Array Sensor for Label-Free Detection of Cytokines in Mouse Serum. IEEE Sensors Letters 4:45001004 Feb. 2020.

Patent Information: