The presence of heavy metal ions such as copper in the human body at certain concentrations and specific conditions can lead to the development of different diseases. The currently available analytical detection methods remain expensive, time-consuming, and often require sample pre-treatment. The development of specific and quantitative, easy-in-operation, and cost-effective devices, capable of monitoring the level of Cu2+ ions in environmental and physiological media, is necessary. We use silicon nanoribbon (SiNR) ion-sensitive field effect transistor (ISFET) devices modified with a Gly-Gly-His peptide for the detection of copper ions in a large concentration range. The specific binding of copper ions causes a conformational change of the ligand, and a deprotonation of secondary amine groups. By performing differential measurements, we gain a deeper insight into the details of the ion-ligand interaction. We highlight in particular the importance of considering non-specific interactions to explain the sensors' response.
Keywords: GGH peptide; copper; ion-sensitive field effect transistor; potentiometric sensing; silicon nanoribbons.