Date of Award

Winter 2017

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Edward Song

Second Advisor

Michael J Carter

Third Advisor

Rudolf Seitz


Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers produced in the brain that plays an important role in human’s physical, psychological and emotional conditions. The balance of neurotransmitters can affect the brain function, mood, pain response and exercise performances. In particular, dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), and epinephrine (EP) are three well-known neurotransmitters that control various functions in the nervous system. Therefore, the detection of DA, NE and EP is extremely important for many instances of mental disease treatment and diagnosis. One of the most promising sensing techniques for neurotransmitter monitoring is the electrochemical detection method because of its high sensitivity, relatively low-cost and ease of operation. However, the similarities in redox potentials among different neurotransmitters limit the selectivity of the electrochemical detection. One way to enhance the chemical selectivity in multi-analyte detection is to utilize a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) as a selective molecular recognition motif. This thesis explores the capability of MIP-based electrochemical sensor for multiple neurotransmitter sensing. Pyrrole (PPy) and o-phenylenediamine (o-PD) are used as functional monomers for the MIP sensor development, and the characteristics of those sensors are analyzed. The results show that MIP sensors possessed higher sensitivity than non-imprinted (NIP) sensors due to the unique molecular receptors. The detection limits of the developed MIP sensors are less than 1.3× 10−5 M. These results demonstrate the possibility of implementing a multi-analyte sensing platform for simultaneous detection of multiple neurotransmitters.