A groundbreaking study conducted by a team of researchers from Shaanxi Normal University has introduced a novel ratiometric electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL) sensing method for detecting microRNA, successfully mitigating issues of sensitivity and accuracy that have challenged earlier ECL techniques. Published in the latest volume of Analytica Chimica Acta, the study is heralded as a significant advancement in analytical chemistry, particularly in the field of biomolecule detection.

MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules that play critical roles in regulating gene expression. Their involvement in various biological processes, especially in the context of diseases such as cancer, necessitates reliable methods for accurate detection and quantification. ECL, a type of luminescence produced during electrochemical reactions, has emerged as a promising technique for sensing biomolecules due to its high sensitivity, simplicity, and broad dynamic concentration range.

Despite its potential, conventional dye-doped silica nanoparticles-based ECL sensing has been hampered by the poor conductivity of the silica nano-matrix. Consequently, only a few dye molecules located near the surface of nanoparticles can contribute to the ECL reaction. Furthermore, ECL signals are easily compromised by environmental interference, leading to diminished accuracy.

Addressing these shortcomings, the study, spearheaded by researchers Cai Haoting, Zhou Yanxin, Guo Zhihui, and Zheng Xingwang, details the development of silica/chitosan/lucigenin composite nanoparticles (Lu/CS NPs). These nanoparticles harness the power of an electrochemically controlled release mechanism for lucigenin molecules in the presence of sulfide ions. The innovative approach enhances ECL efficiency and reduces susceptibility to environmental factors, ensuring more accurate microRNA measurement.

Key to this advancement is the incorporation of chitosan, a natural polymer known for its film-forming capabilities, into the silica nanoparticles. By doping with the luminescent molecule lucigenin, the team created a product that reliably emits light upon electrochemical stimulation.

The Lu/CS NPs were specifically designed to release lucigenin in a controlled manner when introduced to an electrochemical environment containing sulfide ions. This precise release allows for the ratio of the emitted light to be carefully measured, leading to a technique referred to as ‘ratiometric’ sensing. Ratiometric measurements are highly sought after because they provide an internal standard that corrects for potential variations in the intensity of the chemiluminescent signal, resulting in significantly improved accuracy and reliability of the sensing method.

The paper, titled “Ratiometric electrogenerated chemiluminescence sensing microRNA based on electrochemically controlled release of lucigenin from silica/chitosan/lucigenin nanoparticles,” was published online on January 16, 2024, with a DOI reference of 10.1016/j.aca.2023.342170.

During the peer-review process, the study received commendation for its meticulous methodology and the reproducibility of its results. The practical applications of this technology are vast, with potential impacts on medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and biological research.

The declared absence of any conflict of interest further strengthens the credibility of the research and its outcomes. As a part of the scientific community’s ongoing commitment to transparency, the researchers made it clear that they have no competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

This innovation presents a significant leap forward for ECL-based detection systems, setting the stage for rapid and precise detection of microRNAs, among other biological targets.


1. Electrochemiluminescence microRNA detection
2. ECL sensing technology
3. Silica-chitosan nanoparticles
4. Controlled lucigenin release
5. Chemiluminescence biomolecule sensing

In conclusion, the successful implementation of an electrochemically controlled release mechanism for lucigenin molecules from sophisticated Lu/CS NPs represents a prominent step forward in bioanalytical sensing methodologies. As researchers and medical professionals continue to seek out more accurate and sensitive diagnostic tools, it is innovations like these that pave the way for transformative progress in science and healthcare.


1. DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2023.342170 – This is the digital object identifier for the article in question, ensuring precise and direct access to the study.

2. Analytica Chimica Acta Journal – The reputable journal in which the article was published, known for disseminating important research findings in analytical chemistry.

3. Cai Haoting, Zhou Yanxin, Guo Zhihui, Zheng Xingwang – These are the authors of the study, affiliated with the Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science of Shaanxi Province, School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering at Shaanxi Normal University.

4. “Electrogenerated chemiluminescence sensing based on nanomaterials” – Previous literature that discusses the principles and applications of ECL-based sensing using various nanomaterials.

5. “Advances in microRNA detection using chemiluminescence methods” – References to earlier work that contextualizes the importance of improving microRNA detection methods and the role of chemiluminescence in this aim.

The article presents a clear indication of its importance in the broader landscape of analytical chemistry and has the potential to inspire further research and innovation in the field of chemiluminescence sensing.