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Nanostructured Diamond Layers Enhance the Infrared Spectroscopy of Biomolecules

Kozak, Halyna, Babchenko, Oleg, Artemenko, Anna, Ukraintsev, Egor, Remes, Zdenek, Rezek, Bohuslav, Kromka, Alexander
Langmuir 2014 v.30 no.8 pp. 2054-2060
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, absorption, blood proteins, carbon dioxide, fetal bovine serum, gold, hydrogen, hydrophilicity, methane, nanopores, oxidation, reflectance, surface area, temperature
We report on the fabrication and practical use of high-quality optical elements based on Au mirrors coated with diamond layers with flat, nanocolumnar, and nanoporous morphologies. Diamond layers (100 nm thickness) are grown at low temperatures (about 300 °C) from a methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen gas mixture by a pulsed microwave plasma system with linear antennas. Using grazing angle reflectance (GAR) Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with p-polarized light, we compare the IR spectra of fetal bovine serum proteins adsorbed on diamond layers with oxidized (hydrophilic) surfaces. We show that the nanoporous diamond layers provide IR spectra with a signal gain of about 600% and a significantly improved sensitivity limit. This is attributed to its enhanced internal surface area. The improved sensitivity enabled us to distinguish weak infrared absorption peaks of <10-nm-thick protein layers and thereby to analyze the intimate diamond–molecule interface.