Driving down the cost of biosensing through mobile detection and paper microfluidic sensors

Technology description

Biosensing through mobile detectionMobile phone based biosensor for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NADH): Driving down the cost of biosensing through mobile phone detection and paper microfluidic sensors.

Most current enzyme detection methods fall into two categories:

  • either high-performance, quantitative methods that are slow and require a laboratory;
  • inexpensive, but low accuracy or non-quantitative devices such as test strips or lateral-flow type sensors.

La Trobe University researchers are aiming to bridge this gap by developing low-cost high-performance sensors. To date, the research team has developed a low cost paper-based microfluidic biosensor to detect the coenzyme Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NADH), which can be controlled via a mobile phone. The principle is based on electrochemiluminescence, which is the use of electricity to initiate luminescent emission. The research has shown that by impregnating the paper sensor with a suitable light producing molecule, we can use the audio jack in a phone to provide the necessary voltage while simultaneously detecting the resultant emission with the phone's camera. Because NADH is a gateway analyte involved in many enzyme-substrate reactions, its detection provides (in principle) a pathway to indirectly detect a range of other biologically important compounds such as ethanol and glucose.

Key benefits

  • Instrument-free with quantitative detection of NADH at a very low cost.
  • Good potential for telemedicine applications, as the results of the analysis can easily be transmitted to a doctor or medical database


  • Medical diagnostics
  • Telemedicine
  • Personalised medicine.

The opportunity

This technology is available at no cost as an Easy Access Licence to companies and individuals.

For more information contact the Project Manager:

Natalia Alvarez Lopez
Senior Commercialisation Coordinator
E: natalia.alvarez@latrobe.edu.au
Ref: TEC2011/124

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