Carbene self-assembled monolayers - a superior alternative to traditional SAMs

Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are ubiquitous in biosensing and medical diagnostics, including products where the mode of detection  is electrochemical in nature.  The impact of SAMs in electrochemical  sensors has been more significant in the academic literature rather than in true mass produced sensing or diagnostic products.


The issue with  manufacturing  SAMs is that they can lead to products which are variable from manufacturing batch to manufacturing batch. The root problem with traditional SAMs is that they are very sensitive to three or more factors, including:

  • The surface of the electrode.
  • The formulation used to apply the SAM precursor.
  • The environmental conditions in the manufacturing halls.


A superior alternative to the traditional SAMs is the N-heterocyclic carbene based monolayers (carbene-SAMs).  The carbene-SAMs come in a protected precursor form which allows them to be readily handled and deposited in benign alcohol solvent, upon deposition on the electrode the carbene irreversibly binds to the surface and will not come off.


Zimmer and Peacock see the advantages of carbene-SAMs as:

  • Easy to handle within the manufacturing environment.
  • A technology where the formation of the SAM is extremely directed leading to a robust manufacturing process.
  • The resulting SAM is extremely robust and reproducible.
  • The carbene-SAM has extended shelf life.





Zimmer and Peacock partners with clients to initially test and ultimately manufacture their biosensors/medical diagnostics with the carbene-SAMs.


Zimmer and Peacock can provide multiple services during the evaluation of carbene-SAMs for your application, including:


  • The supply of electrodes
  • Electrochemical evaluation.
  • Assay development.
  • Cartridge development.
  • Sensor manufacturing.