Modeling, design guidelines, and detection limits of self-powered enzymatic biofuel cell-based sensors

Xin Jin*, Amay J. Bandodkar, Marco Fratus, Reza Asadpour, John A. Rogers, Muhammad A. Alam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Enzymatic biofuel cell (EBFC)-based self-powered biochemical sensors obviate the need for external power sources thus enabling device miniaturization. While recent efforts driven by experimentalists illustrate the potential of EBFC-based sensors for real-time monitoring of physiologically relevant biochemicals, a robust mathematical model that quantifies the contributions of sensor components and empowers experimentalists to predict sensor performance is missing. In this paper, we provide an elegant yet simple equivalent circuit model that captures the complex, three-dimensional interplay among coupled catalytic redox reactions occurring in an EBFC-based sensor and predicts its output signal with high correlations to experimental observations. The model explains the trade-off among chemical design parameters such as the surface density of enzymes, various reaction constants as well as electrical parameters in the Butler–Volmer relationship. The model shows that the linear dynamic range and sensitivity of the EBFC-based sensor can be independently fine-tuned by changing the surface density of enzymes and electron mediators at the anode and by enhancing reductant concentrations at the cathode. The mathematical model derived in this work can be easily adapted to understand a wide range of two-electrode systems, including sensors, fuel cells, and energy storage devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112493
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - Nov 15 2020


  • Biosensor
  • Enzymatic biofuel cell
  • Modeling
  • Self-powered
  • Wearable and bio-implantable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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