Real Time Bacterial Water Sensors



Ultra-sensitive detection of E. coli cells for chemical sensors and biosensors.

Target Problems

E. coli 0157:H7 is highly virulent and is infectious with a very low dose such that 10 to 100 CFU can lead to infection. Methods for monitoring this pathogen in food production and water include a culturing and colony counting method, polymerase chain reaction, and immunological methods. These methods have low sensitivity, less specificity, and are time-consuming.

Key Features

  • Faster – Rapid response for real-time monitoring of the environment
  • Ultra-sensitive – Detection of E. coli concentrations as low as 10 CFU per mL
  • Scalable – Fabrication can easily be scaled up with good reproducibility and high electrical stability
  • Inexpensive – Materials utilized are relatively inexpensive
  • In-situ Detection – Sensors can be placed directly in a water system for immediate detection


The inventor has utilized self-assembly of thermally-reduced monolayer graphene oxide (TRMGO) nanosheets on photolithographically patterned gold electrodes for highly sensitive detection of E. coli 0157:H7. This fabrication method by a solution process is suitable for mass-production of GO field effect transistor (FET) sensors. The TRMGO FET device shows great electronic stability and high sensitivity to E. coli cells with a concentration as low as 10 CFU per milliliter. The inventors have shown that this immunosensor has high sensitivity with a short response time as well as high reproducibility.

Intellectual Property

8,268,405 Controlled Decoration of Carbon Nanotubes with Aerosol Nanoparticles
8,240,190 Ambient Temperature Gas Sensor
US9676621B2 Graphene-Based Field-Effect Transistor Biosensors

The UWM Research Foundation has licensed the above patents to NanoAffix Science, LLC ( and together the parties are working find additional partners to develop the technology into a final product.

Inventor (s)