Functionalized carbon nanotube nanoelectrodes for biomolecular recognition

Narasimha Harindra Vedala, Florida International University


The objective of this research is to develop nanoscale ultrasensitive transducers for detection of biological species at molecular level using carbon nanotubes as nanoelectrodes. Rapid detection of ultra low concentration or even single DNA molecules are essential for medical diagnosis and treatment, pharmaceutical applications, gene sequencing as well as forensic analysis. Here the use of functionalized single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) as nanoscale detection platform for rapid detection of single DNA molecules is demonstrated. The detection principle is based on obtaining electrical signal from a single amine terminated DNA molecule which is covalently bridged between two ends of an SWNT separated by a nanoscale gap. The synthesis, fabrication, chemical functionalization of nanoelectrodes and DNA attachment were optimized to perform reliable electrical characterization these molecules. Using this detection system fundamental study on charge transport in DNA molecule of both genomic and non genomic sequences is performed. We measured an electrical signal of about 30 pA through a hybridized DNA molecule of 80 base pair in length which encodes a portion of sequence of H5N1 gene of avian Influenza A virus. Due the dynamic nature of the DNA molecules the local environment such as ion concentration, pH and temperature significantly influence its physical properties. We observed a decrease in DNA conductance of about 33% in high vacuum conditions. The counterion variation was analyzed by changing the buffer from sodium acetate to tris(hydroxymethyl) aminomethane, which resulted in a two orders of magnitude increase in the conductivity of the DNA. The fabrication of large array of identical SWNT nanoelectrodes was achieved by using ultralong SWNTs. Using these nanoelectrode array we have investigated the sequence dependent charge transport in DNA. A systematic study performed on PolyG - PolyC sequence with varying number of intervening PolyA - PolyT pairs showed a decrease in electrical signal from 180 pA (PolyG - PolyC) to 30 pA with increasing number of the PolyA - PolyT pairs. This work also led to the development of ultrasensitive nanoelectrodes based on enzyme functionalized vertically aligned high density multiwalled CNTs for electrochemical detection of cholesterol. The nanoelectrodes exhibited selectively detection of cholesterol in the presence of common interferents found in human blood.

Subject Area

Materials science

Recommended Citation

Vedala, Narasimha Harindra, "Functionalized carbon nanotube nanoelectrodes for biomolecular recognition" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3380845.