Impedance spectral fingerprint of E. coli cells on interdigitated electrodes: A new approach for label free and selective detection

Maria Mallén-Alberdi, Núria Vigués, Jordi Mas, César Fernández-Sánchez, Antonio Baldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 The Authors.Published by Elsevier B.V. Impedance-based biosensors for bacterial detection offer a rapid and cost-effective alternative to conventional techniques that are time-consuming and require specialized equipment and trained users. In this work, a new bacteria detection scheme is presented based on impedance measurements with antibody-modified polysilicon interdigitated electrodes (3 μm pitch, IDEs). The detection approach was carried out taking advantage of the E. coli structure which, in electrical terms, is constituted by two insulating cell membranes that separate a conductive cytoplasmatic medium and a more conductive periplasm. Impedance detection of bacteria is usually analyzed using electrical equivalent circuit models that show limitations for the interpretation of such complex cell structure. Here, a differential impedance spectrum representation is used to study the unique fingerprint that arises when bacteria attach to the surface of IDEs. That fingerprint shows the dual electrical behavior, insulating and conductive, at different frequency ranges. In parallel, finite-element simulations of this system using a three-shell bacteria model are performed to explain such phenomena. Overall, a new approach to detect bacteria is proposed that also enables to differentiate viable bacteria from other components non-specifically attached to the IDE surface by just detecting their spectral fingerprints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
JournalSensing and Bio-Sensing Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Bacterial detection
  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Immuno-detection
  • Impedance spectroscopy
  • Interdigitated electrodes
  • Label-free detection


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