The heat-transfer method: a versatile low-cost, label-free, fast, and user-friendly readout platform for biosensor applications

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Aug 27;6(16):13309-18. doi: 10.1021/am503667s. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


In recent years, biosensors have become increasingly important in various scientific domains including medicine, biology, and pharmacology, resulting in an increased demand for fast and effective readout techniques. In this Spotlight on Applications, we report on the recently developed heat-transfer method (HTM) and illustrate the use of the technique by zooming in on four established bio(mimetic) sensor applications: (i) mutation analysis in DNA sequences, (ii) cancer cell identification through surface-imprinted polymers, (iii) detection of neurotransmitters with molecularly imprinted polymers, and (iv) phase-transition analysis in lipid vesicle layers. The methodology is based on changes in heat-transfer resistance at a functionalized solid-liquid interface. To this extent, the device applies a temperature gradient over this interface and monitors the temperature underneath and above the functionalized chip in time. The heat-transfer resistance can be obtained by dividing this temperature gradient by the power needed to achieve a programmed temperature. The low-cost, fast, label-free and user-friendly nature of the technology in combination with a high degree of specificity, selectivity, and sensitivity makes HTM a promising sensor technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / economics*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Limit of Detection
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Molecular Imprinting
  • Phase Transition
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Polyurethanes / chemistry
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Unilamellar Liposomes / chemistry


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Polyurethanes
  • Unilamellar Liposomes