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DNA-modified nanocrystalline diamond thin-films as stable, biologically active substrates

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 January 2003


Diamond, because of its electrical and chemical properties, may be a suitable material for integrated sensing and signal processing. But methods to control chemical or biological modifications on diamond surfaces have not been established. Here, we show that nanocrystalline diamond thin-films covalently modified with DNA oligonucleotides provide an extremely stable, highly selective platform in subsequent surface hybridization processes. We used a photochemical modification scheme to chemically modify clean, H-terminated nanocrystalline diamond surfaces grown on silicon substrates, producing a homogeneous layer of amine groups that serve as sites for DNA attachment. After linking DNA to the amine groups, hybridization reactions with fluorescently tagged complementary and non-complementary oligonucleotides showed no detectable non-specific adsorption, with extremely good selectivity between matched and mismatched sequences. Comparison of DNA-modified ultra-nanocrystalline diamond films with other commonly used surfaces for biological modification, such as gold, silicon, glass and glassy carbon, showed that diamond is unique in its ability to achieve very high stability and sensitivity while also being compatible with microelectronics processing technologies. These results suggest that diamond thin-films may be a nearly ideal substrate for integration of microelectronics with biological modification and sensing.

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Figure 1
Figure 2: a, X-ray photoelectron C(1s), F(1s) and N(1s) spectra of UNCD diamond sample.
Figure 3: a, Images showing fluorescence on hybridization of fluorescently labelled DNA (sequences F1 and F2) to two difference sequences of DNA (S1 and S2) bonded to UNCD diamond surface.


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The authors acknowledge the assistance of Thomas Beebe and Matthew Wells. This work was supported in part by the US Office of Naval Research N00014-01-1-0654, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health Grant R01 EB00269, the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy, BES-Materials Sciences, under Contract W-31-109-ENG-38.

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Correspondence to Robert J. Hamers.

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Yang, W., Auciello, O., Butler, J. et al. DNA-modified nanocrystalline diamond thin-films as stable, biologically active substrates. Nature Mater 1, 253–257 (2002).

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