Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Yi Xiao

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Yong Cai

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Wenzhi Li

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Alexander Mebel

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Xiaotang Wang

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Biosensor, carbon nanotube, gold nanoparticles, electrochemistry, vacuum filtration, gold film, NADH, Dopamine, serotonin, aptamer, cocaine, colorimetric, drug detection

Date of Defense



An ideal biosensor is a compact and in-expensive device that is able to readily and rapidly detects different types of analytes with high sensitivity and specificity. The affectability of a biosensing methodology is subject to the limit of nanomaterials to transduce the target binding process to an improved perceptible signal, while the selectivity is accomplished by considering the binding and specificity of certain moieties to their targets. Keeping these requirements in mind we have chosen nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) that has catalytic properties combined with their size, shape and configuration dependent chemical and physical properties as essential precursors and signaling components for creation of biosensors with tremendous sensitivity. The primary goal of the research work described in this dissertation is to develop and evaluate novel methods to detect various analytes using nanomaterials, at the same time making an affordable architecture for point-of-care (POC) applications. We report here in chapter 3 a simple and new strategy for preparing disposable, paper-based, porous AuNP/M-SWCNT hybrid thin gold films with high conductivity, rapid electron transfer rates, and excellent electrocatalytic properties to achieve multiple analyte electrochemical detection with a resolution that greatly exceeds that of purchased flat gold slides. We further explored the use of nanomaterial-based paper films in more complex matrices to detect analytes such as NADH, which can act as a biomarker for certain cellular redox imbalances and disease conditions. Carbon nanotubes with their large activated surfaces and edge-plane sites (defects) that are ideal for performing NADH oxidation at low potentials without any help of redox mediators minimizing surface fouling in complex matrices is described in chapter 4. With an instrument-free approach in mind we further focused on a colorimetric platform using split cocaine aptamers and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to detect cocaine for on-site applications as described in chapter 5. In chapter 5, the split aptamer sequences were evaluated mainly on three basic criteria, the hybridization efficiency, specificity towards the analyte (cocaine), and the reaction time to observe a distinguishable color change from red to blue. The assay is an enzyme-assisted target recycling (EATR) strategy following the principle that nuclease enzyme recognizes probe–target complexes, cleaving only the probe strand releasing the target for recycling. We have also studied the effect of the number of binding domains with variable chain lengths on either side of the apurinic (AP) site. On the basis of our results, we finally shortlisted the sequence combination with maximum signal enhancement fold which is instrumental in development of colorimetric platform with faster, and specific reaction to observe a distinctive color change in the presence of cocaine.



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