Self-Folding Hybrid Graphene Skin for 3D Biosensing

Weinan Xu, Santosh K. Paidi, Zhao Qin, Qi Huang, Chi Hua Yu, Jayson V. Pagaduan, Markus J. Buehler, Ishan Barman, David H. Gracias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Biological samples such as cells have complex three-dimensional (3D) spatio-molecular profiles and often feature soft and irregular surfaces. Conventional biosensors are based largely on 2D and rigid substrates, which have limited contact area with the entirety of the surface of biological samples making it challenging to obtain 3D spatially resolved spectroscopic information, especially in a label-free manner. Here, we report an ultrathin, flexible skinlike biosensing platform that is capable of conformally wrapping a soft or irregularly shaped 3D biological sample such as a cancer cell or a pollen grain, and therefore enables 3D label-free spatially resolved molecular spectroscopy via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Our platform features an ultrathin thermally responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-graphene-nanoparticle hybrid skin that can be triggered to self-fold and wrap around 3D micro-objects in a conformal manner due to its superior flexibility. We highlight the utility of this 3D biosensing platform by spatially mapping the 3D molecular signatures of a variety of microparticles including silica microspheres, spiky pollen grains, and human breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1417
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 13 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • SERS
  • graphene
  • lab-on-a-chip
  • origami
  • stimuli-responsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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