Karolien De Wael

Karolien De Wael
University of Antwerp | UA · Department of Bioengineering

Professor
Group Leader of A-Sense Lab - Antwerp Electrochemical and Analytical Sciences Lab

About

256
Publications
51,396
Reads
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3,885
Citations
Citations since 2016
160 Research Items
3226 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Introduction
My research group performs fundamental, methodological and application-oriented research involving a wide range of analytical techniques with a focus on the chemical analysis or electrochemical sensing of one or multiple analyte species. Our strategic vision aims at a portfolio of sensor & analysis technologies, based on novel fundamental concepts, that can be applied in different markets/sectors embracing the idea of responsible research, sustainability and innovation.
Additional affiliations
April 2011 - present
University of Antwerp

Publications

Publications (256)
Article
Wearable electrochemical sensors capable of noninvasive monitoring of chemical markers represent a rapidly emerging digital-health technology. Recent advances toward wearable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems have ignited tremendous interest in expanding such sensor technology to other important fields. This article reviews for the first...
Article
In this manuscript, we compare different analytical methodologies to validate or disprove the binding capabilities of aptamer sequences. This was prompted by the lack of a universally accepted and robust quality control protocol for the characterization of aptamer performances coupled with the observation of independent yet inconsistent data sets i...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Cable bacteria form centimeter-long, multicellular filaments whose energy metabolism involves cooperation among cells that separately perform oxidation of the electron donor and reduction of the electron acceptor. This cooperative division of labor is facilitated via long-range electrical currents that run from cell to cell along a net...
Article
The pyroantimonate pigments Naples Yellow and lead tin antimonate yellow are recognized as some of the most stable synthetic yellow pigments in the history of art. However, this exceptional light-fastness is in contrast with experimental evidence suggesting that this class of mixed oxides is of semiconducting nature. In this study the electronic st...
Article
Full-text available
Enzyme-based electrochemical biosensors are an inspiration for the development of (bio)analytical techniques. However, the instability and reproducibility of the reactivity of enzymes, combined with the need for chemical reagents for sensing remain challenges for the construction of useful devices. Here we present a sensing strategy inspired by the...
Article
The WHO estimates that 8–10% of couples are facing fertility problems, often due to inaccuracy in predicting the female's ovulation period controlled by four key hormones. The quantification and monitoring of such key hormones are crucial for the early identification of infertility, but also in improving therapeutic management associated with hormo...
Article
Illicit drugs continue to pose a serious threat to society and public health. Drug (ab)use is linked to organised crime and violence. Therefore, to fight the so-called war on drugs, police and law enforcement agencies need to be equipped with accurate and efficient sensors for the detection of illicit drugs and drug use. Even though colour tests (f...
Article
The illicit drug precursor market for the manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), mainly amphetamine, methamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), has emerged quickly in the last years. The evidence of a more complex and sophisticated drug market underlines the pressing need for new on-site methods to quickly detect precursor...
Article
Dye-sensitized TiO2 has found many applications for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), solar-to-chemical energy conversion, water/air purification systems, and (electro)chemical sensors. We report an electrochemical system for testing dye-sensitized materials that can be utilized in photoelectrochemical (PEC) sensors and energy conversion. Unlike r...
Article
Phenols are considered as toxic pollutants and their discharge into the environment by industries is regulated by a concentration limit. As these limits are in the low mg L⁻¹ to µg L⁻¹-range, sensitive methods are necessary to detect these phenols. Here, aqueous industrial phenolic samples throughout a cleaning process were analyzed by two novel el...
Article
According to the World Health Organization, about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, with 1.5 million deaths directly attributed each year. Therefore, there is still a need to effectively monitor glucose in diabetic patients for proper management. Recently, wearable patches based on microneedle (MN) sensors provide minimally invasive analy...
Article
This work presents the results of a novel application for the fast on‐site screening of cocaine and its main cutting agents in suspicious and confiscated samples. The methodology behind the novel application consists of portable electrochemical detection coupled with a peak‐recognition algorithm for automated result output generation, validated bot...
Article
The increasing illicit production, distribution and abuse of amphetamine (AMP) poses a challenge for law enforcement worldwide. To effectively combat this issue, fast and portable tools for the on-site screening of suspicious samples are required. Electrochemical profile (EP)-based sensing of illicit drugs has proved to be a viable option for this...
Preprint
Full-text available
Functionalization of photocatalytic metal oxide nanoparticles of TiO2, ZnO, WO3 and CuO with amine-terminated (oleylamine) and thiol-terminated (1-dodecanethiol) alkyl chained ligands was studied under ambient conditions. A high selectivity was observed in the binding specificity of a ligand towards nanoparticles of these different oxides. It was o...
Article
There is an urgent need for sensing strategies to screen perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in aqueous matrices. These strategies must be applicable in large-scale monitoring plans to face the ubiquitous use of these pollutants, their wide global spread, and the fast evolution of PFAS towards short-chain, branched molecules. To this aim, the changes...
Article
Full-text available
The smuggling of illicit drugs urges the development of new tools for rapid on-site identification in cargos. Current methods rely on presumptive color tests and portable spectroscopic techniques. However, these methods sometimes exhibit inaccurate results due to commonly used cutting agents, the colorful nature of the sample or because the drugs a...
Article
Full-text available
Optical photothermal infrared (O-PTIR) is a recently developed molecular spectroscopy technique that allows to noninvasively obtain chemical information on organic and inorganic samples at a submicrometric scale. The high spatial resolution (≈450 nm), lack of sample preparation, and comparability of the spectral results to traditional Fourier trans...
Article
The high toxicity, endocrine-disrupting effects and low (bio)degradability commonly attributed to phenolic compounds have promoted their recognition as priority toxic pollutants. For this reason, the monitoring of these compounds in industrial, domestic and agricultural streams is crucial to prevent and decrease their toxicity in our daily life. To...
Article
Photoelectrochemical (PEC) sensing of phenolic compounds using singlet oxygen (1O2)‐generating photocatalysts has emerged as a powerful detection tool. However, it is currently not known how experimental parameters, such as pH and applied potential, influence the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their photocurrents. In this article,...
Preprint
Illicit drug consumption is posing critical concerns in our society causing health issues, crime-related activities, and the disruption of border trade. The smuggling of illicit drugs urges the development of new tools for rapid on-site identification in cargos. Current methods used by law enforcement officers rely on presumptive color tests and po...
Article
Full-text available
Music festivals have emerged as an important setting for the consumption of illicit drugs, harming both consumers and soci-ety. Therefore, law enforcement present at these events requires straightforward, robust and...
Article
This article describes the development of an electrochemical screening strategy for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), the regular psychoactive compound in ecstasy (XTC) pills. We have investigated the specific electrochemical profile of MDMA and its electro-oxidation mechanisms at disposable graphite screen-printed electrodes. We have prove...
Article
Full-text available
The wearable revolution is already present in society through numerous gadgets. However, the contest remains in fully deployable wearable (bio)chemical sensing. Its use is constrained by the energy consumption which is provided by miniaturized batteries, limiting the autonomy of the device. Hence, the combination of materials and engineering effort...
Article
Full-text available
The determination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in environmental samples, such as drinking waters, requires the design of high performing and versatile sensing strategies. Label-free biosensing platforms based on specialty fiber optics are a valid option to face this challenge. Among them, lossy mode resonance (LMR) fiber optic bios...
Article
This work presents a proof-of-concept assay for the detection and quantification of small molecules based on aptamer recognition and electrochemiluminescence (ECL) readout. The testosterone-binding (TESS.1) aptamer was used to demonstrate the novel methodology. Upon binding of the target, the TESS.1 aptamer is released from its complementary captur...
Article
In the present work, the resolution and quantification of mixtures of different opiates compounds in the presence of common cutting agents using an electronic tongue (ET) is evaluated. More specifically, ternary mixtures of heroin, morphine and codeine were resolved in the presence of caffeine and paracetamol. To this aim, an array of three carbon...
Article
Wearable electrochemical sensors are driven by the user-friendly capability of on-site detection of key biomarkers for health management. Despite the advances in biomolecule monitoring such as glucose, still, several unmet clinical challenges need to be addressed. For example, patients suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) should be able to monitor...
Article
The electrochemical behavior of some of the most relevant endocrine-disrupting phenols using unmodified carbon screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) is described for the first time. Experiments were made to assess the electrochemical behavior of phenol (PHOH), pentachlorophenol (PCP), 4-tert octylphenol (OP) and bisphenol A (BPA) and their determination...
Article
Full-text available
Forensic drug laboratories are confronted with increasing amounts of drugs and a demand for faster results that are directly available on-site. In addition, the drug market is getting more complex with hundreds of new psychoactive substances (NPS) entering the market in recent years. Rapid and on-scene presumptive drug testing therefore faces a shi...
Article
Full-text available
This work reports the use of modified screen-printed carbon electrodes (SPCEs) for the identification of three drugs of abuse and two habitual cutting agents, caffeine and paracetamol, combining voltammetric sensing and chemometrics. In order to achieve this goal, codeine, heroin and morphine were subjected to Square Wave Voltammetry (SWV) at pH 7,...
Article
Full-text available
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) remains a popular approach to determine the shape, size, density, and elemental composition of particles collected on leaf surfaces, but the effect of leaf micro-morphology on particle counts is not very well known. In this study, leaves of sixteen urban plant species were examined for particle density in June and...
Article
The current work, designed for the photoelectrochemical detection of DNA, evaluates light-responsive DNA probes carrying molecular photosensitizers generating singlet oxygen (¹O2). We take advantage of their chromophore’s ability to produce ¹O2 upon photoexcitation and subsequent photocurrent response. Type I, fluorescent and type II photosensitize...
Article
This current review focuses on contributions to amphetamine-type substances (ATS) analysis. This type of synthetic illicit drugs has been increasingly present worldwide reaching 5% of the market on illicit drugs in 2019. The increment of their production in many clandestine laboratories and easy distribution among society are two of the main concer...
Article
Full-text available
Polymeric materials have been used by painting conservator-restorers as consolidants and/or varnishes for wall paintings. The application of these materials is carried out when confronting loose paint layers or as a protective coating. However, these materials deteriorate and cause physiochemical alterations to the treated surface. In the past, the...
Article
Illicit drug consumption is a worldwide worrying phenomenon that troubles modern society. For this reason, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are placing tremendous efforts into tackling the spreading of such substances among our community. New sensing technologies can facilitate the LEAs duties by providing portable and affordable analytical devices....
Article
Full-text available
Herein, a complete study of the electrochemical behavior of the most commonly used tetracycline antibiotics (TCs) on unmodified carbon screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) is presented. In addition, the oxidation pathway of TCs on SPE is elucidated, for the first time, with liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS)....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Illicit drug consumption is posing critical concerns in our society causing health issues, crime-related activities and the disruption of the border trade. The smuggling of illicit drugs urges the development of new tools for rapid on-site identification in cargos. Current methods used by law enforcement offices rely on presumptive color tests and...
Cover Page
Full-text available
Die molekulare Zusammensetzung von organischen Partikeln und Schichten in historischen Gemälden kann mittels der neu entwickelten OPTIR‐Spektroskopie analysiert werden. In ihrem Forschungsartikel (DOI: 10.1002/ange.202106058) zeigen Karolien De Wael et al. die verblüffenden Befunde für Van Goghs Gemälde L′Arlésienne (Porträt der Madame Ginoux). Die...
Cover Page
Full-text available
The nanoscale molecular composition of organic particles and layers in historical paintings can be revealed by recently developed OPTIR spectroscopy. In their Research Article (DOI: 10.1002/anie.202106058), Karolien De Wael et al. show the striking results obtained in Van Gogh's painting L'Arlésienne (portrait of Madame Ginoux) and highlight the po...
Article
The impregnation of size-controlled gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on an anatase TiO2 structure ([email protected]2) was studied for the photoelectrochemical detection of hydroquinone (HQ) under visible light illumination integrated into a flow injection analysis (FIA) setup. The crystalline form of TiO2 was preserved during synthesis and the homogeneo...
Article
Bridging the gap between complex signal data output and clear interpretation by non-expert end-users is a major challenge many scientists face when converting their scientific technology into a real-life application. Currently, pattern recognition algorithms are the most frequently encountered signal data interpretation algorithms to close this gap...
Article
Optical-photothermal infrared (O-PTIR) spectroscopy is a recently developed technique that provides spectra comparable to traditional transmission FTIR spectroscopy with nanometric spatial resolution. Hence, O-PTIR is a promising candidate for the analysis of historical paintings, as well as other cultural heritage objects, but its potential has no...
Article
Optical-photothermal infrared (O-PTIR) spectroscopy is a recently developed technique that provides spectra comparable to traditional transmission FTIR spectroscopy with nanometric spatial resolution. Hence, O-PTIR is a promising candidate for the analysis of historical paintings, as well as other cultural heritage objects, but its potential has no...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Leaves of sixteen urban plant species were examined for particle density in June and September 2016 using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The particle density was estimated by particle size fraction and leaf sides. The total particle density for coarse and fine fraction on both the abaxial and the adaxial leaf side ranged between 202 to 10,981...
Article
Full-text available
Particulate matter (PM) deposition on urban green enables the collection of particulate pollution from a diversity of contexts, and insight into the physico-chemical profiles of PM is key for identifying main polluting sources. This study reports on the morphological and elemental characterization of PM2–10 deposited on ivy leaves from five differe...
Article
Full-text available
Functionalization of photocatalytic metal oxide nanoparticles of TiO 2 , ZnO, WO 3 and CuO with amine‐terminated (oleylamine) and thiol‐terminated (1‐dodecanethiol) alkyl chained ligands was studied under ambient conditions. A high selectivity was observed in the binding specificity of a ligand towards nanoparticles of these different oxides. It wa...
Article
Reaction of (2,3,9,10,16,17,23,24-octabutylphthalocyaninato)lanthanide(iii) acetylacetonates (BuPcLn(acac), 1a-c, Ln = Lu (a), Eu (b), La (c)) with a tetrakis(5,7-bis(4-tert-butylphenyl)-6H-1,4-diazepino)[2,3-b,g,l,q]porphyrazine ligand (tBuPhDzPzH2, 2) produced sandwich compounds (tBuPhDzPz)Ln(BuPc) (3a-c), which represent the first heteroleptic d...
Article
Research has shown the potential of photofuel cells (PFCs) for waste water treatment, enabling the (partial) recovery of the energy released from the degraded compounds as electricity. Literature on PFCs targeting air pollution on the other hand is extremely scarce. In this work an autonomously operating air purification device targeting sustainabl...
Article
Aptamers are promising biorecognition elements with a wide applicability from therapeutics to biosensing. However, to successfully use these biomolecules, a complete characterisation of their binding performance in the presence of the target is crucial. Several multi-analytical approaches have been reported including techniques to describe kinetic...
Article
Tetra-tert-butylphthalocyanine aluminum (III) chloride was studied by voltammetric and potential-resolved spectroelectrochemical methods in a non-coordinating solvent o-dichlorobenzene. Five redox transitions were found including two oxidation waves at 0.18 and 0.90 V and three reduction waves at −1.28, −1.65, and −2.63 V vs. Fc⁺/Fc. Electrochemica...
Article
Eosin Y has an extraordinary capacity to form complexes with metallic elements, that have applications in many different fields, from photovoltaics and photocatalysis to historical artists’ pigments. To unravel the complexes reactivity, it is essential to have a precise knowledge of their structure and composition, as well as how these can be affec...
Article
Full-text available
Illicit drugs use and abuse remains an increasing challenge for worldwide authorities and, therefore, it is important to have accurate methods to detect them in seized samples, biological fluids and wastewaters. They are recently classified as the latest group of emerging pollutants as their consumption increased tremendously in recent years. Nanom...
Article
Amphetamine (AMP) is posing critical issues in our society being one of the most encountered drugs-of-abuse in the current illicit market. The continuous drug production in Europe urges the development of new tools for the rapid on-site determination of illicit drugs such as AMP. However, the direct electrochemical detection of AMP is a challenge b...
Article
Full-text available
The emergence of new psychoactive drugs in the market demands rapid and accurate tools for the on‐site classification of illegal and legal compounds with similar structures. Herein, a novel method for the classification of synthetic cathinones (SC) is presented based on their electrochemical profile. First, the electrochemical profile of five commo...
Article
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a toxic compound that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body by noncovalent binding to serum proteins such as human serum albumin (hSA). Though the interaction between PFOA and hSA has been already assessed using various analytical techniques, a high resolution and detailed analysis of the binding mode is s...
Article
Aptamers have come in the spotlight as bio-mimetic molecular recognition elements in the field of biomedicine due to various applications in diagnostics, drug delivery, therapeutics, and pharmaceutical analysis. Aptamers are composed of nucleic acid strands (DNA or RNA) that can specifically interact in a three-dimensional tailored design with the...
Article
The illicit consumption of heroin is an increasing concern in our society. For this reason, rapid analytical methods to seize heroin samples in the field are of paramount importance to hinder drug trafficking, and thus prevent the availability of heroin in the drug market. The present work reports on the enriched electrochemical fingerprint of hero...
Article
Biosensing platforms are answering the increasing demand for analytical tools for environmental monitoring of small molecules, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). By transferring toxicological findings in bioreceptor design we can develop innovative pathways for biosensor design. Indeed, toxicological studies provide fundamental inf...