Light-Controlled Selective Collection-and-Release of Biomolecules by an On-Chip Nanostructured Device

Nano Lett. 2019 Sep 11;19(9):5868-5878. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b01323. Epub 2019 Aug 12.


The analysis of biosamples, e.g., blood, is a ubiquitous task of proteomics, genomics, and biosensing fields; yet, it still faces multiple challenges, one of the greatest being the selective separation and detection of target proteins from these complex biosamples. Here, we demonstrate the development of an on-chip light-triggered reusable nanostructured selective and quantitative protein separation and preconcentration platform for the direct analysis of complex biosamples. The on-chip selective separation of required protein analytes from raw biosamples is performed using antibody-photoacid-modified Si nanopillars vertical arrays (SiNPs) of ultralarge binding surface area and enormously high binding affinity, followed by the light-controlled rapid release of the tightly bound target proteins in a controlled liquid media. Two important experimental observations are presented: (1) the first demonstration on the control of biological reaction binding affinity by the nanostructuring of the capturing surface, leading to highly efficient protein collection capabilities, and (2) the light-triggered switching of the highly sticky binding surfaces into highly reflective nonbinding surfaces, leading to the rapid and quantitative release of the originally tightly bound protein species. Both of these two novel behaviors were theoretically and experimentally investigated. Importantly, this is the first demonstration of a three-dimensional (3D) SiNPs on-chip filter with ultralarge binding surface area and reversible light-controlled quantitative release of adsorbed biomolecules for direct purification of blood samples, able to selectively collect and separate specific low abundant proteins, while easily removing unwanted blood components (proteins, cells) and achieving desalting results, without the requirement of time-consuming centrifugation steps, the use of desalting membranes, or affinity columns.

Keywords: biomolecules; filtering; light control; photoacid; preconcentration; silicon nanopillars.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / chemistry
  • Blood Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Light
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Protein Binding / radiation effects
  • Silicon / chemistry
  • Surface Properties


  • Blood Proteins
  • Silicon