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Surface regeneration and reusability of label-free DNA biosensors based on weak polyelectrolyte-modified capacitive field-effect structures

Bronder, Thomas S., Poghossian, Arshak, Jessing, Max P., Keusgen, Michael, Schöning, Michael J.
Biosensors & bioelectronics 2019 v.126 pp. 510-517
adsorption, biosensors, complementary DNA, fluorescent dyes, ionic strength, ions, single-stranded DNA
The reusability of capacitive field-effect electrolyte-insulator-semiconductor (EIS) sensors modified with a cationic weak polyelectrolyte (poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH)) for the label-free electrical detection of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), in-solution- and on-chip-hybridized double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) has been studied. It has been demonstrated that via simply regeneration of the gate surface of the EIS sensor by means of an electrostatic adsorption of a new PAH layer, the same biosensor can be reused for at least five DNA-detection measurements. Because of the reversal of the charge sign of the outermost layer after each surface modification with the cationic PAH or negatively charged DNA molecules, the EIS-biosensor signal exhibits a zigzag-like behavior. The amplitude of the signal changes has a tendency to decrease with increasing number of macromolecular layers. The direction of the EIS-signal shifts can serve as an indicator for a successful DNA-immobilization or -hybridization process. In addition, we observed that the EIS-signal changes induced by each surface-modification step (PAH adsorption, immobilization of ssDNA or dsDNA molecules and on-chip hybridization of complementary target cDNA) is decreased with increasing the ionic strength of the measurement solution, due to the more efficient macromolecular charge-screening by counter ions. The results of field-effect experiments were supported by fluorescence-intensity measurements of the PAH- or DNA-modified EIS surface using various fluorescence dyes.