Implantable Aptamer-Graphene Microtransistors for Real-Time Monitoring of Neurochemical Release in Vivo

Guangfu Wu, Nannan Zhang, Avi Matarasso, Ian Heck, Huijie Li, Wei Lu, J. Glenn Phaup, Michael J. Schneider, Yixin Wu, Zhengyan Weng, He Sun, Zan Gao, Xincheng Zhang, Stefan G. Sandberg, Dilruba Parvin, Elena Seaholm, Syed Kamrul Islam, Xueju Wang, Paul E.M. Phillips, Daniel C. CastroShinghua Ding, De Pei Li, Michael R. Bruchas, Yi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The real-time monitoring of neurochemical release in vivo plays a critical role in understanding the biochemical process of the complex nervous system. Current technologies for such applications, including microdialysis and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, suffer from limited spatiotemporal resolution or poor selectivity. Here, we report a soft implantable aptamer-graphene microtransistor probe for real-time monitoring of neurochemical release. As a demonstration, we show the monitoring of dopamine with nearly cellular-scale spatial resolution, high selectivity (dopamine sensor >19-fold over norepinephrine), and picomolar sensitivity, simultaneously. Systematic benchtop evaluations, ex vivo experiments, and in vivo studies in mice models highlight the key features and demonstrate the capability of capturing the dopamine release dynamics evoked by pharmacological stimulation, suggesting the potential applications in basic neuroscience studies and studying neurological disease-related processes. The developed system can be easily adapted for monitoring other neurochemicals and drugs by simply replacing the aptamers functionalized on the graphene microtransistors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Letters
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • dopamine
  • graphene microtransistors
  • neurochemical sensors
  • real-time monitoring


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