Sequence-specific detection of femtomolar DNA via a chronocoulometric DNA sensor (CDS): effects of nanoparticle-mediated amplification and nanoscale control of DNA assembly at electrodes

J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Jul 5;128(26):8575-80. doi: 10.1021/ja061521a.


We herein report a novel nanoparticle-based electrochemical DNA detection approach. This DNA sensor is based on a "sandwich" detection strategy, which involves capture probe DNA immobilized on gold electrodes and reporter probe DNA labeled with gold nanoparticles that flank the target DNA sequence. Electrochemical signals are generated by chronocoulometric interrogation of [Ru(NH(3))(6)](3+) that quantitatively binds to surface-confined capture probe DNA via electrostatic interactions. We demonstrated that the incorporation of a gold nanoparticle in this sensor design significantly enhanced the sensitivity and the selectivity. Nanoscale control of the self-assembly process of DNA probes at gold electrodes further increased the sensor performance. As a result of these two combined effects, this DNA sensor could detect as low as femtomolar (zeptomoles) DNA targets and exhibited excellent selectivity against even a single-base mismatch. In addition, this novel DNA sensor showed fairly good reproducibility, stability, and reusability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA Probes / chemistry*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrodes
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Ruthenium Compounds / chemistry
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surface Properties


  • DNA Probes
  • Ruthenium Compounds
  • Gold
  • DNA