Specificity and sensitivity are important factors affecting DNA microarrays. Stem-loop DNA probes (SLPs) can be more specific in their recognition of target sequences than linear DNA probes, but unless they are carefully designed, surface interactions can disrupt the native stem-loop structure. In this study, we show how dendron-modified surfaces with well-defined, uniform spacing of aldehyde chemical functionalities offer an ideal substrate to immobilize SLPs and use them to detect nucleic acid targets. The mesospacing provided by the dendron-modified surfaces produces a solution-like environment that allows the SLPs to detect target nucleic acids at concentrations as low as 1pM in concentration.
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