Microchimica Acta

, Volume 184, Issue 7, pp 2419–2428 | Cite as

Bottom-up assembly of silicon nanowire conductometric sensors for the detection of apolipoprotein A1, a biomarker for bladder cancer

  • Yen-Heng LinEmail author
  • Wei-Siao Lin
  • Jing-Chao Wong
  • Wei-Chieh Hsu
  • Yong-Sheng Peng
  • Chien-Lun Chen
Original Paper


The authors describe highly sensitivity nanowire sensors that can be prepared by a bottom-up approach. The sensors were incorporated into microchannels and used for the quantitative conductometric detection of apolipoprotein A1 (APOA1), a bladder cancer protein biomarker. Silicon nanowires were placed in the gap between nickel electrodes by using dielectrophoretic forces, which improved the yield of the assembly. Then, the nanowires were clipped by another nickel layer to form a nickel/nanowire/nickel sandwich-like structure using photolithography and a lift-off process. The results show that this structure exhibits reduced contact resistance at the interface between the nickel layer and the silicon nanowires, which is an ohmic contact. Thus, a stable nanowire sensor was obtained. It was found that the contact resistance can be further decreased by using a hot plate annealing process. An SU-8 photoresist was used to insulate the electrodes to allow for applications in wet environments. An antibody against APOA1 was covalently conjugated to the surface of the silicon nanowires. Antibody conjugation was verified via the decrease in the conductance of the nanowires after conjugation. The sensor has a dynamic range that covers the 0.2 ng·mL−1 to 10 μg·mL−1 APOA1 concentration range and a detection limit of approximately 1 ng·mL−1.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of silicon nanowire sensors prepared by a bottom-up approach with the aid of dielectriphoretic force. Antibodies were modified onto nanowires for protein detection. Surface potential was changed by protein attachment, which influences major carriers and thus changes the nanowire conductance.


Dielectrophoresis Label-free detection Protein detection Microfluidics Nanoscale sensor Sandwich structure 



The authors thank Prof. Yit-Tsong Chen from National Taiwan University for providing the silicon nanowire and offering valuable suggestions. We also express our gratitude to the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan and the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital for their funding support (MOST 103-2221-E-182-016-MY2, CMRPD2C0091, BMRPC01).

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2017_2288_MOESM1_ESM.docx (164 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 163 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yen-Heng Lin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Wei-Siao Lin
    • 1
  • Jing-Chao Wong
    • 2
  • Wei-Chieh Hsu
    • 1
  • Yong-Sheng Peng
    • 1
  • Chien-Lun Chen
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Electronic EngineeringChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of Medical MechatronicsChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck SurgeryChang Gung Memorial HospitalTaoyuanTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of UrologyChang Gung Memorial HospitalTaoyuanTaiwan
  5. 5.College of MedicineChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan

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