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Biosensors & Bioelectronics

Module PH2179

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

PH2179 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
300 h 75 h 10 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2179 is Jose Antonio Garrido Ariza.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This lecture provides general knowledge in the field of biosensors and bioelectronics. The lecture is intended to be divided into two main blocks.

The first block will provide an introduction to physical-chemistry of the solid/water interface, an overview of electrochemistry concepts, and the operation principles of biosensors, including electrochemical sensors, optical sensors, acoustic sensors, as well as semiconductor-based sensors.

The second block of the lecture will cover topics closer to the field of cell and molecular bioelectronics, such as membrane phenomena, generation of action potentials in living cells, cell-semiconductor interfaces, as well as electron transfer reactions in biological compounds, and transmission of information in living organisms.

Learning Outcome

After participation in this module the student is able to:

1. Understand and explain the basics of electrode potentials, and double layer formation at metal/electrolyte and semiconductor/electrolyte interfaces
2. Describe basic aspects of electron transfer processes at metal and semiconductor electrodes, with particular attention to mass-limited electron transfer and kinetic limited electron transfer processes.
3. Understand and describe the operation principles of electrochemical biosensors, such as amperometric and potentiometric sensors
4. Understand and describe the operation principles of biosensors based on semiconductor field-effect devices.

5. Understand and describe the operation principles optical biosensors (fiber biosensors, surface plasmon resonance -SPR- biosensors, etc).

6. Understand and describe the operation principles piezo and acoustic biosensors (quartz crystal microbalance, surface acoustic wave -SAW- biosensors).

7.   Describe the physics governing voltage-gated ion channels in cell membranes, including the mathematical description of the voltage-dependent conductivity.

8.   Understand and explain cell membrane phenomena such as transmembrane potential, and generation of action potentials.

9.  Explain and describe the cell/transistor interface.

10.  Calculate the different forms of the recorded signals with the field effect transistors. Similarly, describe the extracellular stimulation of nerve cells with FETs.

11. Understand and describe electron transfer reactions in biological systems: Marcus model for electron transfer, role of reorganization energy, etc.


Keine Vorkenntnisse nötig, die über die Zulassungsvoraussetzungen zum Masterstudium hinausgehen

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 4 Biosensors & Bioelectronics Garrido Ariza, J. Tue, 10:30–12:00, WSI S101
Thu, 10:30–12:00, WSI S101

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture, projector presentation, board work


lecture script, accompanying internet site, complementary literature


"Electrochemical methods: Fundamentals and Applications", A.J. Bard; Wiley
"Physics and Chemistry of Interfaces", H.-J. Butt, Wiley
"Bioelectrochemistry. Encyclopedia of Electrochemistry. Vol 9", G.S. Wilson, Wiley
"Biological Membranes" O.Sten-Knudsen, Cambridge

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 90 minutes.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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