Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 25, pp 6529–6538 | Cite as

ZnO flower-rod/g-C3N4-gold nanoparticle-based photoelectrochemical aptasensor for detection of carcinoembryonic antigen

  • Zhizhong HanEmail author
  • Min Luo
  • Qinghua Weng
  • Li Chen
  • Jinghua Chen
  • Chunyan LiEmail author
  • Ying Zhou
  • Long Wang
Research Paper


A highly sensitive and selective photoelectrochemical (PEC) aptasensor was constructed for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) detection based on ZnO flower-rods (ZnO FRs) modified with g-C3N4-Au nanoparticle (AuNP) nanohybrids. The nanohybrids of g-C3N4-AuNPs can improve the visible light absorbance of ZnO FRs and enhance the PEC property. We designed a sandwichlike structure formed with DNA hybridization of NH2-probe1, CEA aptamer, and CuS-NH2-probe2 to detect CEA. The p-type semiconductor CuS nanocrystals (NCs) at the terminational part of sandwichlike structure work as electron traps to capture photogenerated electrons and consequently lead to a magnified photocurrent change. The results indicate that the photocurrent is increased when CEA antigen (Ag) is introduced. Since the sandwichlike structure is destroyed, CuS NCs are restricted to capture photogenerated electron. The PEC aptasensor for CEA determination is ranged from 0.01 ng·mL−1 to 2.5 ng·mL−1 with a detection of 1.9 pg·mL−1. The proposed aptasensor exhibits satisfactory PEC performances with rapid detection, great sensitivity and specificity. Specially, this PEC aptasensor shows a reliable result for the determination of CEA in invalid human serum compared with the ELISA method. The designed aptasensor may provide a new idea for a versatile PEC platform to determine various molecules.

Graphical abstract


Photoelectrochemical aptasensor ZnO flower-rods g-C3N4-Au nanoparticles CuS Carcinoembryonic antigen 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51602053), Joint Funds for the Innovation of Science and Technology, Fujian Province (2017Y9122), Fujian Natural Science Foundation (2015J05020), Youth Scientific Research Program of Fujian Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission (2014-1-39), Nursery Scientific Research Foundation of Fujian Medical University (2014MP008), Professor Foundation of Fujian Medical University (JS14009). The authors thank Doctor W. Chen from Fujian Provincial Hospital for the support of invalid human serum and the data of ELISA method.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Fujian Medical University. Human fluid samples used in this study do not have any identifying information about all the participants that provided written informed consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1256_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (428 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 428 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmacy, Fujian Medical UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Basic Medical SciencesFujian Medical UniversityFuzhouChina

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