Microchimica Acta

, 186:245 | Cite as

Non-enzymatic fluorescent glucose sensor using vertically aligned ZnO nanotubes grown by a one-step, seedless hydrothermal method

  • Hanh Hong MaiEmail author
  • Dinh Hoang Tran
  • Ewald Janssens
Original Paper


A sensitive non-enzymatic fluorescent glucose sensor, consisting of vertically aligned ZnO nanotubes (NTs) grown on low-cost printed circuit board substrates, is described. The ZnO NTs were synthesized by a one-step hydrothermal method without using a seed layer. The sensor function is based on the photoluminescence (PL) quenching of ZnO NTs treated with different concentrations of glucose. The UV emission (emission maximum at 384 nm under 325 nm excitation) decreases linearly with increasing glucose concentration. The sensor exhibits a sensitivity of 3.5%·mM−1 (defined as percentage change of the PL peak intensity per mM) and a lower limit of detection (LOD) of 70 μM. This is better than previously reported work based on the use of ZnO nanostructures. The detection range is 0.1–15 mM which makes the sensor suitable for practical uses in glucose sensing. The sensor was successfully applied to the analysis of human blood serum samples. It is not interfered by common concentrations of ascorbic acid, uric acid, bovine serum albumin, maltose, fructose, and sucrose.

Graphical abstract

Schematic of the one-step, seedless hydrothermal method utilized for synthesizing vertically aligned ZnO nanotubes on printed circuit board substrates (PCBs). The ZnO nanotubes were used to monitor glucose concentrations in a non-enzymatic fluorescent sensor.


ZnO nanostructures Non-enzymatic sensor Fluorometric sensor Glucose sensing Printed circuit board Hydrothermal synthesis Photoluminescence quenching 



This work was supported by the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) of Vietnam through Grant No. 103.03-2015.27.

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhysicsVNU University of ScienceHanoiVietnam
  2. 2.Laboratory of Solid State Physics and Magnetism and Department of Physics and AstronomyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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