The present invention discloses an electrochemical device for detecting single particles, and methods for using such a device to achieve high sensitivity for detecting particles such as bacteria, viruses, aggregates, immuno-complexes, molecules, or ionic species. The device provides for affinity-based electrochemical detection of particles with single-particle sensitivity. The disclosed device and methods are based on microelectrodes with surface-attached, affinity ligands (e.g., antibodies, combinatorial peptides, glycolipids) that bind selectively to some target particle species. The electrodes electrolyze chemical species present in the particle-containing solution, and particle interaction with a sensor element modulates its electrolytic activity. The devices may be used individually, employed as sensors, used in arrays for a single specific type of particle or for a range of particle types, or configured into arrays of sensors having both these attributes.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between the United States Department of Energy and the Sandia Corporation for the operation of the Sandia National Laboratories.