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Biosensor basics | How does Biosensor work | application

This page covers Biosensor basics, its applications and Biosensor advantages.It also covers how does Biosensor work.

A Biosensor basically is an analytical device. It is used for detection of an analyte which combines a biological component with a physico-chemical detector. Biosensor combines following three functionalities in one.
1. Bio-receptor 2. Transducer 3. Electronics circuit and display

As per father of Biosensor Professor Leland C Clark, it is a device which incorporates a biological sensing element either intimately connected to or integrated within a transducer.


Figure depicts schematic diagram explaining how biosensor works. It is also referred as analytical device which converts a biological response into an electrical signal.

Biosensor detects, records and transmits information regarding physiological process or change.

Let us understand how does biosensor work.

• Step-1:Detects the input based on physical change due to reaction.

• Step-2:Convert the input into electrical signal.

• Step-3:Amplify the electrical signal and process it using processor.

• Step-4:Display the processed signal.

As mentioned above, step-1 can be one of the following reaction leading to physical change.
• Heat output due to reaction(i.e. using calorimetric biosensors)
• Light output due to optical biosensors
• changes in distribution of charges which will cause electrical potential to be produced using potentiometric biosensors.
• Movement of electrons generated in redox reaction using amperometric biosensors.
• effects due to mass of reactants using piezoelectric biosensors

There are three generations of biosensors. First generation based biosensors are the devices in which normal product of reaction diffuses to transducer. This transducer will cause the electrical response. Second generation based biosensors use specific mediators between reaction and transducer in order to generate improved response. In third generation based biosensors , reaction itself causes the response. Here no product or mediator diffusion is involved directly.

Biosensor advantages or merits

Following are the advantages of Biosensor:
• Rapid and continuous measurements
• Fast response time
• very less usage of reagents required for calibration
• Ability to measure non polar molecules which can not be estimated using other conventional devices.

Biosensor applications

Following are the applications of Bio-sensor devices:
• Food analysis
• Waste water treatment
• Environmental applications
• Monitoring of glucose levels in diabetic patients
• Protein engineering and drug discovery applications

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