If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


Electronic Materials

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Crown of thorns

by Manny I. Fox Morone
May 3, 2024

A circular structure made of thin spikes of gold sits on a black background as viewed using a scanning electron microscope.
Credit: Gabriel J. C. Pimentel and Elcio L. Pires

This small, spiky chunk of gold could find use in biosensors of the future. In fact, those spikes actually make it more effective. Gold, which is conductive and known to be relatively inert in biological systems, is a great material for making electrodes for sensors that are used for biological samples. But these sensors are often plagued by problems like biofouling, which happens when proteins glom onto the sensor and interfere with the signal it’s trying to detect. The uneven texture of these spike-and-crown nanostructured microelectrodes (SC-NMEs) avoid some of the biofouling. And by increasing the surface area of the gold, the spikes make these devices more sensitive. Carlos D. Garcia of Clemson University and Renato Sousa Lima of the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials led the team that developed these SC-NMEs, and it has already used them to measure small-scale phenomena such as bacterial metabolism.

Credit: Gabriel J. C. Pimentel and Elcio L. Pires. Read the recent paper about the SC-NMEs in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.4c01159.

Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest.

See more Chemistry in Pictures.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.