A systematic study of the structure–function relationships critical to understanding the sensing mechanism of 1st generation amperometric glucose biosensors with an embedded nanoparticle (NP) network is presented. Xerogel-based films featuring embedded glucose oxidase enzyme and doped with alkanethiolate-protected gold NPs, known as monolayer protected clusters (MPCs), exhibit significantly enhanced performance compared to analogous systems without NPs including higher sensitivity, faster response time, and extended linear/dynamic ranges. The proposed mechanism involves diffusion of the glucose to glucose oxidase within the xerogel, enzymatic reaction production of H2O2 with subsequent diffusion to the embedded network of MPCs where it is oxidized, an event immediately reported via fast electron transfer (ET) through the MPC system to the working electrode. Various aspects of the film construct and strategy are systematically probed using amperometry, voltammetry, and solid-state electronic conductivity measurements, including the effects of MPC peripheral chain length, MPC functionalization via place-exchange reaction, MPC core size, and the MPC density or concentration within the xerogel composite films. The collective results of these experiments support the proposed mechanism and identify interparticle spacing and the electronic communication through the MPC network is the most significant factor in the sensing scheme with the diffusional aspects of the mechanism that may be affected by film/MPC hydrophobicity and functionality (i.e., glucose and H2O2 diffusion) shown to be less substantial contributors to the overall enhanced performance. Understanding the structure–function relationships of effective sensing schemes allows for the employment of the strategy for future biosensor design toward clinically relevant targets.

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Post-print Article

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Copyright © 2015 Elsevier. Article first published online: 16 MAR 2015.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jcis.2015.03.020.

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