A liposome-based ion release impedance sensor for biological detection

Biomed Microdevices. 2013 Oct;15(5):895-905. doi: 10.1007/s10544-013-9778-4.


Low-cost detection of pathogens and biomolecules at the point-of-care promises to revolutionize medicine through more individualized monitoring and increased accessibility to diagnostics in remote and resource-limited areas. While many approaches to biosensing are still limited by expensive components or inadequate portability, we present here an ELISA-inspired lab-on-a-chip strategy for biological detection based on liposome tagging and ion-release impedance spectroscopy. Ion-encapsulating dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) liposomes can be functionalized with antibodies and are stable in deionized water yet permeabilized for ion release upon heating, making them ideal reporters for electrical biosensing of surface-immobilized antigens. We demonstrate the quantification of these liposomes by real-time impedance measurements, as well as the qualitative detection of viruses as a proof-of-concept toward a portable platform for viral load determination which can be applied broadly to the detection of pathogens and other biomolecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / analogs & derivatives
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Dielectric Spectroscopy
  • Electric Impedance
  • Ions
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Viruses / isolation & purification


  • Ions
  • Liposomes
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • colfosceril palmitate