Multimodal technique to eliminate humidity interference for specific detection of ethanol

Biosens Bioelectron. 2017 Jan 15;87:522-530. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2016.08.106. Epub 2016 Aug 30.


Multimodal electrochemical technique incorporating both open circuit potential (OCP) and amperometric techniques have been conceptualized and implemented to improve the detection of specific analyte in systems where more than one analyte is present. This approach has been demonstrated through the detection of ethanol while eliminating the contribution of water in a micro fuel cell sensor system. The sensor was interfaced with LMP91000 potentiostat, controlled through MSP430F5529LP microcontroller to implement an auto-calibration algorithm tailored to improve the detection of alcohol. The sensor was designed and fabricated as a three electrode system with Nafion as a proton exchange membrane (PEM). The electrochemical signal of the interfering phase (water) was eliminated by implementing the multimodal electrochemical detection technique. The results were validated by comparing sensor and potentiostat performances with a commercial sensor and potentiostat respectively. The results suggest that such a sensing system can detect ethanol at concentrations as low as 5ppm. The structure and properties such as low detection limit, selectivity and miniaturized size enables potential application of this device in wearable transdermal alcohol measurements.

Keywords: Continuous monitoring; Ethanol; Fuel cell; Nafion; Potentiostat; Wearable.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Electrochemical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Electrodes
  • Equipment Design
  • Ethanol / analysis*
  • Fluorocarbon Polymers / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Limit of Detection
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry


  • Fluorocarbon Polymers
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Water
  • perfluorosulfonic acid
  • Ethanol