NFC-based Smartphone Potentiostat for Infectious Disease Detection


Available for Licensing, Collaboration, and Funding

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending (Not Yet Published)


Charles Henry

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University in collaboration with a team in Thailand have developed a low-cost near field communication (NFC)-based potentiostat for performing chemical sensing. The system works by adding a sample to an electrochemical sensor on the unit and then tapping a smartphone to activate control software. The user interface allows the user to select a specific method for the analysis. Results are then displayed on the smartphone and can be transmitted. 

The technology is currently in development for COVID-19 diagnostics.

Please contact our office directly for more information.

Licensing Director

Steve Foster

Reference No.:  2020-089


Analytical biosensors have typically relied on bulky, expensive, laboratory-based instruments, limiting their potential for point-of-care (POC) applications. Portable, cost-effective, easy-to-operate mobile technology has garnered significant interest in POC testing since short time-to-result can improve clinical decision making, reducing and/or eliminating treatment delays. Smartphones, in particular, have been widely integrated with biosensing systems to control, analyze and display results in a readily available format. By utilizing functions available on smartphones such as touch-screen display, data storage, advanced computing capability, and data transmission, simple, small and cost-effective sensing systems could be developed for portable POC devices. Smartphone-enabled detection systems include microscopy imaging, fluorescence, electrochemistry, and plasmonic resonance. While these systems have proven useful, they often require a direct connection to the sensing device and/or separate power for the system.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is an emerging wireless technology for short-range communication between smartphones and electronic tags. Most modern smartphones are equipped with NFC function, providing a strong base to expand the scope of applications for analytical sensing. Utilizing features of powerless and wireless signal transfer, NFC-enabled sensors enable smartphones to rapidly obtain sensing data by reading an NFC tag without additional connections or instrumentation. NFC sensors provide new functions for portable, real-time monitoring and quantification which have been attempted to utilize these advantages in the field of healthcare, food, and environment.

The reported smartphone-based sensing device offers great potential to be the next-generation technology of portable and versatile POC tools for label-free electrochemical immunoassays.

  • Useful in point-of-care diagnosis of infection diseases, bacterial and viral, including COVID-19
  • Successfully used in detecting HBV (hepatitis B virus)
  • Label-free
  • Convenient network connection using smartphones
  • Results can be automatically uploaded to cloud servers or reported with info for rapid screening detection
  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • COVID-19 detection

Submitted for Review

Last updated: April 2020

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