KickStat: A Coin-Sized Potentiostat for High-Resolution Electrochemical Analysis

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Apr 23;20(8):2407. doi: 10.3390/s20082407.


The demand for wearable and point-of-care devices has led to an increase in electrochemical sensor development to measure an ever-increasing array of biological molecules. In order to move from the benchtop to truly portable devices, the development of new biosensors requires miniaturized instrumentation capable of making highly sensitive amperometric measurements. To meet this demand, we have developed KickStat, a miniaturized potentiostat that combines the small size of the integrated Texas Instruments LMP91000 potentiostat chip (Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX, USA) with the processing power of the ARM Cortex-M0+ SAMD21 microcontroller (Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ, USA) on a custom-designed 21.6 mm by 20.3 mm circuit board. By incorporating onboard signal processing via the SAMD21, we achieve 1 mV voltage increment resolution and an instrumental limit of detection of 4.5 nA in a coin-sized form factor. This elegant engineering solution allows for high-resolution electrochemical analysis without requiring extensive circuitry. We measured the faradaic current of an anti-cocaine aptamer using cyclic voltammetry and square wave voltammetry and demonstrated that KickStat's response was within 0.6% of a high-end benchtop potentiostat. To further support others in electrochemical biosensors development, we have made KickStat's design and firmware available in an online GitHub repository.

Keywords: amperometric; biosensors; electrochemistry; low-cost; miniaturized; open-source; point-of-care; voltammetry; wearable.