Nanotech 2010

RNA Functionalized Carbon Nanotube for Chemical Sensing

M. Chen, S.A. Datta, S.M. Khamis, J.E. Fischer, A.T. Johnson Jr.
Simmons College, US

Keywords: carbon nanotube sensor, RNA functionalization

Abstract:

We demonstrate a versatile class of nanoscaled chemical sensors based on single stranded RNAs as the chemical recognition sites and single-walled carbon nanotube field effect transistors (SWNT-FETs) as the electronic readout components. Motivated by our previous work on DNA-functionalized carbon nanotube for chemical detection, we aim to improve the sensitivity and specificity of our sensors by functionalizing SWNTs with single stranded RNAs. Single stranded RNAs are good candidates for chemical recognition components since show high affinity to large variety of chemicals. Moreover, RNAs can be engineered to have specific sequences for target analytes, and they can readily bind to SWNTs via favorable π−π stacking interactions. When compared to the corresponding DNA-functionalized devices, we found: (1) RNAs form pearl-like structures, while DNAs form a more uniform coverage on SWNTs. (2) The RNA-functionalized devices yield faster and larger responses to chemical analytes then their DNA counterparts. (3) The magnitude and even the sign of sensing response for corresponding DNA and RNA functionalized devices to the same analyte are distinct. Such rapid response, sensitivity and selectivity to large variety of analytes, self-regenerating ability, and reproducibility make RNA-functionalized SWNT-FETs promising for applications in electronic olfaction, disease diagnosis, and homeland security.
 
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