A Disposable paper breathalyzer with an alcohol sensing organic electrochemical transistor

Eloïse Bihar, Yingxin Deng, Takeo Miyake, Mohamed Saadaoui, George G. Malliaras*, Marco Rolandi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Breathalyzers estimate Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) from the concentration of ethanol in the breath. Breathalyzers are easy to use but are limited either by their high price and by environmental concerns, or by a short lifetime and the need for continuous recalibration. Here, we demonstrate a proof-of-concept disposable breathalyzer using an organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) modified with alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) as the sensor. The OECT is made with the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), and is printed on paper. ADH and its cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD +) are immobilized onto the OECT with an electrolyte gel. When the OECT-breathalyzer is exposed to ethanol vapor, the enzymatic reaction of ADH and ethanol transforms NAD + into NADH, which causes a decrease in the OECT source drain current. In this fashion, the OECT-breathalyzer easily detects ethanol in the breath equivalent to BAC from 0.01% to 0.2%. The use of a printed OECT may contribute to the development of breathalyzers that are disposable, ecofriendly, and integrated with wearable devices for real-time BAC monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27582
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 13
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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