Disclosed is a sensor for sensing the presence of an analyte component without relying on redox mediators. This sensor includes (a) a plurality of conductive polymer strands each having at least a first end and a second end and each aligned in a substantially common orientation; (b) a plurality of molecular recognition headgroups having an affinity for the analyte component and being attached to the first ends of the conductive polymer strands; and (c) an electrode substrate attached to the conductive polymer strands at the second ends. The electrode substrate is capable of reporting to an electronic circuit reception of mobile charge carriers (electrons or holes) from the conductive polymer strands. The electrode substrate may be a photovoltaic diode.
Also disclosed is method of forming a sensor capable of sensing the presence of an analyte component. This method includes (a) contacting a sensor substrate (e.g., a device element of a device on semiconductor chip) with a first medium containing mobile conductive polymer strands or precursors of the conductive polymer strands; (b) applying a first potential to the substrate sufficient to form a first structure having the conductive polymer strands affixed to the substrate; (c) contacting the sensor substrate, with affixed conductive polymer strands, with a second medium containing mobile molecular recognition headgroups; and (d) applying a second potential to the substrate sufficient to affix the molecular recognition headgroups to the affixed conductive polymer strands.