Research Topic

Recent Advances and Emerging Applications of Porous Silica-Based Chemical Sensors and Biosensors

About this Research Topic

Porous silica (PSi) is a versatile material that can be produced by physical, physicochemical, chemical, and electrochemical approaches. Various morphologies and pore sizes ranging from nanometers to micrometers can be obtained by these approaches by varying the doping density and the formation parameters. Due to its ease of fabrication, extremely large surface area, a wide range of accessible pore sizes and morphologies, and surface reactivity, PSi has gained wide applications as an insulating layer in the silicon-on-insulator, as a sensing layer in chemical sensors and biosensors, a sacrificial layer in micromachining, in optoelectronic, photovoltaic device and biomedical applications, and as templates for nanofabrication. However, its use for the development of chemical sensors and biosensors has attracted considerable interest in the last three decades and has resulted in numerous advances.

The sensing principle of PSi-based sensors is, in simple terms, based on monitoring the changes in its electrical or optical properties due to the incorporation of chemicals or biomolecules. Thus, changes in the electrical and/or optical properties by incorporation of chemical or biological molecules into the pores often serve as a basis for rapid, reliable and sensitive measurement. As the pore diameter limits the size of the species that can be captured into the pores, the morphology of PSi is also important for sensing applications. Consequently, PSi can be efficiently used as a transducer to convert the effect of analytes into either an electrical or optical signal.

The most commonly used transduction approaches for the detection of analytes in the liquid or gaseous states include piezoresistance, piezoelectricity, capacitive, resistive, tunneling, thermoelectricity, optical, and electrochemical methods.
This approach has been used in several studies to fabricate PSi-based sensors that can detect chemicals, gases, and biological molecules at very low analyte concentrations. Furthermore, recent progress in PSI-based chemical sensors and biosensors have utilized various surface chemistries, the attachment of specific recognition molecules and the incorporation of nanostructures such as metal or metal oxide nanoparticles or conducting polymers inside the pores to permit the development of new sensing applications and to achieve substantial improvements in sensitivity, detection limit, and selectivity.

The aim of this Research Topic is to invite comprehensive review and original research articles featuring recent advancements and emerging applications of PSi-based chemical sensors and biosensors. Manuscripts submitted for peer-review can be on either experimental or theoretical aspects of PSi-based optical chemical sensors/biosensors, electrochemical sensors/biosensors (including piezoresistance, piezoelectricity, capacitive, impedimetric, resistive, tunneling, thermoelectricity, potentiometric, amperometric sensors, conductimetric), surface enhanced-Raman scattering (SERS) sensing, lab on chip sensing, PSi-Nano hybrid sensors/biosensors, PSi-Conducting Polymer hybrid sensors/biosensors, PSi-based aptasensors, and other related topics.


Keywords: porous silica, chemical sensors, biosensors, surface enhanced Raman scattering sensing, SERS, lab on chip sensing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Porous silica (PSi) is a versatile material that can be produced by physical, physicochemical, chemical, and electrochemical approaches. Various morphologies and pore sizes ranging from nanometers to micrometers can be obtained by these approaches by varying the doping density and the formation parameters. Due to its ease of fabrication, extremely large surface area, a wide range of accessible pore sizes and morphologies, and surface reactivity, PSi has gained wide applications as an insulating layer in the silicon-on-insulator, as a sensing layer in chemical sensors and biosensors, a sacrificial layer in micromachining, in optoelectronic, photovoltaic device and biomedical applications, and as templates for nanofabrication. However, its use for the development of chemical sensors and biosensors has attracted considerable interest in the last three decades and has resulted in numerous advances.

The sensing principle of PSi-based sensors is, in simple terms, based on monitoring the changes in its electrical or optical properties due to the incorporation of chemicals or biomolecules. Thus, changes in the electrical and/or optical properties by incorporation of chemical or biological molecules into the pores often serve as a basis for rapid, reliable and sensitive measurement. As the pore diameter limits the size of the species that can be captured into the pores, the morphology of PSi is also important for sensing applications. Consequently, PSi can be efficiently used as a transducer to convert the effect of analytes into either an electrical or optical signal.

The most commonly used transduction approaches for the detection of analytes in the liquid or gaseous states include piezoresistance, piezoelectricity, capacitive, resistive, tunneling, thermoelectricity, optical, and electrochemical methods.
This approach has been used in several studies to fabricate PSi-based sensors that can detect chemicals, gases, and biological molecules at very low analyte concentrations. Furthermore, recent progress in PSI-based chemical sensors and biosensors have utilized various surface chemistries, the attachment of specific recognition molecules and the incorporation of nanostructures such as metal or metal oxide nanoparticles or conducting polymers inside the pores to permit the development of new sensing applications and to achieve substantial improvements in sensitivity, detection limit, and selectivity.

The aim of this Research Topic is to invite comprehensive review and original research articles featuring recent advancements and emerging applications of PSi-based chemical sensors and biosensors. Manuscripts submitted for peer-review can be on either experimental or theoretical aspects of PSi-based optical chemical sensors/biosensors, electrochemical sensors/biosensors (including piezoresistance, piezoelectricity, capacitive, impedimetric, resistive, tunneling, thermoelectricity, potentiometric, amperometric sensors, conductimetric), surface enhanced-Raman scattering (SERS) sensing, lab on chip sensing, PSi-Nano hybrid sensors/biosensors, PSi-Conducting Polymer hybrid sensors/biosensors, PSi-based aptasensors, and other related topics.


Keywords: porous silica, chemical sensors, biosensors, surface enhanced Raman scattering sensing, SERS, lab on chip sensing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

25 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

25 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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