FWF - CuBiC - Nanoporous Cu for Biocatalysis

Project: Research project

Project Details


In the CuBiC project new, innovative hybrid-electrodes are created, using nanoporous copper as carrier structure and enzymes of the so-called P450 class as active component. Such „enzyme electrodes“ are suitable for a broad spectrum of sensor applications, e.g. in environmental monitoring or biomedical technologies. The project will develop the versatile electrodes in four steps: The first step is the fabrication of nanoporous copper, i.e. metallic sponge structures at the nanoscale, by a selective etching process called dealloying. In this process, the less noble component is removed from an alloy, leading to a rearrangement of the remaining copper atoms which leads to the formation of a porous structure. In the second step, the surface of this copper-sponge is covered by a layer of small, organic molecules. This layer serves as linker, thus as glue, between the metal and the enzymes which follow in step three. Enzymes are large biomolecules, acting as catalysts for chemical reactions, which is utilized in many biotechnological processes. In the fourth and last step selective applications are used to test the functionality of the produced hybrid materials. Metal and biomolecules perfectly complement each other in this novel electrode concept with highest freedom of design for future applications. For a long-lasting functionality, enzymes require a carrier with large surface area, which is provided by the porous metal structure. In addition the conductivity of the carrier material allows for a supply with electrons, which are required for many of the chemical reactions, catalyzed by the enzyme. Nanoporous copper, as it is used within CuBiC, represents a relatively unexplored material in this context, which however offers many advantages. Besides the use of a, compared to noble metals, relatively low-cost and sustainable raw material, also the oxides formed in the fabrication process are of high interest for future applications. The electrodes are free-standing and can be produced in any desired shape and size, making them easy to handle for versatile purposes. This unique combination of assets may pave the way towards a paradigm-changing new platform technology for biosensing. Even though CuBiC is limited to a few selected applications within the scope of the project, the developed electrode concept itself is highly modular. The possible combinations of carriers and biomolecules, including suitable linkers, are manyfold, opening up quasi inexhaustible creative freedom for a new generation of biosensors in various fields of application.
Effective start/end date1/03/2331/05/26


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