Label-free direct electronic detection of biomolecules with amorphous silicon nanostructures

Nanomedicine : Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
John LundBabak A Parviz


We present the fabrication and characterization of a nano-scale sensor made of amorphous silicon for the label-free, electronic detection of three classes of biologically important molecules: ions, oligonucleotides, and proteins. The sensor structure has an active element which is a 50 nm wide amorphous silicon semicircle and has a total footprint of less than 4 microm2. We demonstrate the functionalization of the sensor with receptor molecules and the electronic detection of three targets: H(+) ions, short single-stranded DNAs, and streptavidin. The sensor is able to reliably distinguish single base-pair mismatches in 12 base long strands of DNA and monitor the introduction and identification of straptavidin in real-time. The versatile sensor structure can be readily functionalized with a wide range of receptor molecules and is suitable for integration with high-speed electronic circuits as a post-process on an integrated circuit chip.


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