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1.  Morphological and chemical stability of silicon nanostructures and their molecular overlayers under physiological conditions: towards long-term implantable nanoelectronic biosensors 
Background
The detection of biological and chemical species is of key importance to numerous areas of medical and life sciences. Therefore, a great interest exists in developing new, rapid, miniature, biocompatible and highly sensitive sensors, capable to operate under physiological conditions and displaying long-term stabilities (e.g. in-body implantable sensors). Silicon nanostructures, nanowires and nanotubes, have been extensively explored as building blocks for the creation of improved electrical biosensing devices, by virtue of their remarkably high surface-to-volume ratios, and have shown exceptional sensitivity for the real time label-free detection of molecular species adsorbed on their surfaces, down to the sensitivity of single molecules.
Yet, till this date, almost no rigorous studies have been performed on the temporal morphological stability of these nanostructures, and their resulting electrical devices, under physiological conditions (e.g. serum, blood), as well as on the chemical stability of the molecular recognition over-layers covering these structures.
Results
Here, we present systematic time-resolved results on the morphological stability of bare Si nanowire building blocks, as well on the chemical stability of siloxane-based molecular over-layers, under physiological conditions. Furthermore, in order to overcome the observed short-term morpho-chemical instabilities, we present on the chemical passivation of the Si nanostructures by thin metal oxide nanoshells, in the range of 3–10 nm. The thickness of the metal oxide layer influences on the resulting electrical sensitivity of the fabricated FETs (field effect transistors), with an optimum thickness of 3–4 nm.
Conclusions
The core-shell structures display remarkable long-term morphological stability, preventing both, the chemical hydrolytic dissolution of the silicon under-structure and the concomitant loss of the siloxane-based chemical over-layers, for periods of at least several months. Electrical devices constructed from these nanostructures display excellent electrical characteristics and detection sensitivities, with exceptionally high morphological and functional stabilities. These results pave the road for the creation of long-term implantable biosensing devices in general, and nanodevices in particular.
doi:10.1186/1477-3155-12-7
PMCID: PMC3975481  PMID: 24606762
Nanowire; Field effect transistors; Chemical stability; Silicon; Dissolution; Biosensors
2.  Carbon nanotubes-based chemiresistive immunosensor for small molecules: Detection of nitroaromatic explosives 
Biosensors & bioelectronics  2010;26(4):1297-1301.
In recent years, there has been a growing focus on use of one-dimensional (1-D) nanostructures, such as carbon nanotubes and nanowires, as transducer elements for label-free chemiresistive/field-effect transistor biosensors as they provide label-free and high sensitivity detection. While research to-date has elucidated the power of carbon nanotubes- and other 1-D nanostructure- based field effect transistors immunosensors for large charged macromolecules such as proteins and viruses, their application to small uncharged or charged molecules has not been demonstrated. In this paper we report a single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs)-based chemiresistive immunosensor for label-free, rapid, sensitive and selective detection of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), a small molecule. The newly developed immunosensor employed a displacement mode/format in which SWNTs network forming conduction channel of the sensor was first modified with trinitrophenyl (TNP), an analog of TNT, and then ligated with the anti-TNP single chain antibody. Upon exposure to TNT or its derivatives the bound antibodies were displaced producing a large change, several folds higher than the noise, in the resistance/conductance of SWNTs giving excellent limit of detection, sensitivity and selectivity. The sensor detected between 0.5 ppb and 5000 ppb TNT with good selectivity to other nitroaromatic explosives and demonstrated good accuracy for monitoring TNT in untreated environmental water matrix. We believe this new displacement format can be easily generalized to other one-dimensional nanostructure-based chemiresistive immuno/affinity-sensors for detecting small and/or uncharged molecules of interest in environmental monitoring and health care.
doi:10.1016/j.bios.2010.07.017
PMCID: PMC3108850  PMID: 20688506
Carbon nanotubes; chemiresistor; field-effect transistor; label-free; immunosensor; explosives
3.  Metal Oxide Nanosensors Using Polymeric Membranes, Enzymes and Antibody Receptors as Ion and Molecular Recognition Elements 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(5):8605-8632.
The concept of recognition and biofunctionality has attracted increasing interest in the fields of chemistry and material sciences. Advances in the field of nanotechnology for the synthesis of desired metal oxide nanostructures have provided a solid platform for the integration of nanoelectronic devices. These nanoelectronics-based devices have the ability to recognize molecular species of living organisms, and they have created the possibility for advanced chemical sensing functionalities with low limits of detection in the nanomolar range. In this review, various metal oxides, such as ZnO-, CuO-, and NiO-based nanosensors, are described using different methods (receptors) of functionalization for molecular and ion recognition. These functionalized metal oxide surfaces with a specific receptor involve either a complex formation between the receptor and the analyte or an electrostatic interaction during the chemical sensing of analytes. Metal oxide nanostructures are considered revolutionary nanomaterials that have a specific surface for the immobilization of biomolecules with much needed orientation, good conformation and enhanced biological activity which further improve the sensing properties of nanosensors. Metal oxide nanostructures are associated with certain unique optical, electrical and molecular characteristics in addition to unique functionalities and surface charge features which shows attractive platforms for interfacing biorecognition elements with effective transducing properties for signal amplification. There is a great opportunity in the near future for metal oxide nanostructure-based miniaturization and the development of engineering sensor devices.
doi:10.3390/s140508605
PMCID: PMC4063009  PMID: 24841244
ZnO nanostructures; CuO nanostructures; NiO nanostructures; potentiometric nanosensors; biosensors; chemical sensors
4.  High-k dielectric Al2O3 nanowire and nanoplate field effect sensors for improved pH sensing 
Biomedical microdevices  2011;13(2):335-344.
Over the last decade, field-effect transistors (FETs) with nanoscale dimensions have emerged as possible label-free biological and chemical sensors capable of highly sensitive detection of various entities and processes. While significant progress has been made towards improving their sensitivity, much is yet to be explored in the study of various critical parameters, such as the choice of a sensing dielectric, the choice of applied front and back gate biases, the design of the device dimensions, and many others. In this work, we present a process to fabricate nanowire and nanoplate FETs with Al2O3 gate dielectrics and we compare these devices with FETs with SiO2 gate dielectrics. The use of a high-k dielectric such as Al2O3 allows for the physical thickness of the gate dielectric to be thicker without losing sensitivity to charge, which then reduces leakage currents and results in devices that are highly robust in fluid. This optimized process results in devices stable for up to 8 h in fluidic environments. Using pH sensing as a benchmark, we show the importance of optimizing the device bias, particularly the back gate bias which modulates the effective channel thickness. We also demonstrate that devices with Al2O3 gate dielectrics exhibit superior sensitivity to pH when compared to devices with SiO2 gate dielectrics. Finally, we show that when the effective electrical silicon channel thickness is on the order of the Debye length, device response to pH is virtually independent of device width. These silicon FET sensors could become integral components of future silicon based Lab on Chip systems.
doi:10.1007/s10544-010-9497-z
PMCID: PMC3190593  PMID: 21203849
Nanowire; Biosensor; pH sensing; Sensitivity; Biasing; Width; Dielectric
5.  Analytical Calculation of Sensing Parameters on Carbon Nanotube Based Gas Sensors 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(3):5502-5515.
Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) are generally nano-scale tubes comprising a network of carbon atoms in a cylindrical setting that compared with silicon counterparts present outstanding characteristics such as high mechanical strength, high sensing capability and large surface-to-volume ratio. These characteristics, in addition to the fact that CNTs experience changes in their electrical conductance when exposed to different gases, make them appropriate candidates for use in sensing/measuring applications such as gas detection devices. In this research, a model for a Field Effect Transistor (FET)-based structure has been developed as a platform for a gas detection sensor in which the CNT conductance change resulting from the chemical reaction between NH3 and CNT has been employed to model the sensing mechanism with proposed sensing parameters. The research implements the same FET-based structure as in the work of Peng et al. on nanotube-based NH3 gas detection. With respect to this conductance change, the I–V characteristic of the CNT is investigated. Finally, a comparative study shows satisfactory agreement between the proposed model and the experimental data from the mentioned research.
doi:10.3390/s140305502
PMCID: PMC4004004  PMID: 24658617
carbon nanotubes (CNTs); NH3 gas sensor; I–V characteristic; field effect transistor (FET)
6.  Carbon Nanotubes in Biology and Medicine: In vitro and in vivo Detection, Imaging and Drug Delivery 
Nano research  2009;2(2):85-120.
Carbon nanotubes exhibit many unique intrinsic physical and chemical properties and have been intensively explored for biological and biomedical applications in the past few years. In this comprehensive review, we summarize the main results from our and other groups in this field and clarify that surface functionalization is critical to the behavior of carbon nanotubes in biological systems. Ultrasensitive detection of biological species with carbon nanotubes can be realized after surface passivation to inhibit the non-specific binding of biomolecules on the hydrophobic nanotube surface. Electrical nanosensors based on nanotubes provide a label-free approach to biological detection. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy of carbon nanotubes opens up a method of protein microarray with detection sensitivity down to 1 fmol/L. In vitro and in vivo toxicity studies reveal that highly water soluble and serum stable nanotubes are biocompatible, nontoxic, and potentially useful for biomedical applications. In vivo biodistributions vary with the functionalization and possibly also size of nanotubes, with a tendency to accumulate in the reticuloendothelial system (RES), including the liver and spleen, after intravenous administration. If well functionalized, nanotubes may be excreted mainly through the biliary pathway in feces. Carbon nanotube-based drug delivery has shown promise in various In vitro and in vivo experiments including delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA), paclitaxel and doxorubicin. Moreover, single-walled carbon nanotubes with various interesting intrinsic optical properties have been used as novel photoluminescence, Raman, and photoacoustic contrast agents for imaging of cells and animals. Further multidisciplinary explorations in this field may bring new opportunities in the realm of biomedicine.
doi:10.1007/s12274-009-9009-8
PMCID: PMC2824900  PMID: 20174481
Carbon nanotubes; biomedical applications; surface functionalization; biosensor; drug delivery; biomedical imaging
7.  Porphyrins-Functionalized Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Chemiresistive Sensor Arrays for VOCs 
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have been used extensively for sensor fabrication due to its high surface to volume ratio, nanosized structure and interesting electronic property. Lack of selectivity is a major limitation for SWNTs-based sensors. However, surface modification of SWNTs with a suitable molecular recognition system can enhance the sensitivity. On the other hand, porphyrins have been widely investigated as functional materials for chemical sensor fabrication due to their several unique and interesting physico-chemical properties. Structural differences between free-base and metal substituted porphyrins make them suitable for improving selectivity of sensors. However, their poor conductivity is an impediment in fabrication of prophyrin-based chemiresistor sensors. The present attempt is to resolve these issues by combining freebase- and metallo-porphyrins with SWNTs to fabricate SWNTs-porphyrin hybrid chemiresistor sensor arrays for monitoring volatile organic carbons (VOCs) in air. Differences in sensing performance were noticed for porphyrin with different functional group and with different central metal atom. The mechanistic study for acetone sensing was done using field-effect transistor (FET) measurements and revealed that the sensing mechanism of ruthenium octaethyl porphyrin hybrid device was governed by electrostatic gating effect, whereas iron tetraphenyl porphyrin hybrid device was governed by electrostatic gating and Schottky barrier modulation in combination. Further, the recorded electronic responses for all hybrid sensors were analyzed using a pattern-recognition analysis tool. The pattern-recognition analysis confirmed a definite pattern in response for different hybrid material and could efficiently differentiate analytes from one another. This discriminating capability of the hybrid nanosensor devices open up the possibilities for further development of highly dense nanosensor array with suitable porphyrin for E-nose application.
doi:10.1021/jp210582t
PMCID: PMC3292351  PMID: 22393460
Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes; Porphyrins; Chemiresistive; Nanosensor; Array; Volatile Organic Compounds
8.  Electrochemical Sensors for the Detection of Lead and Other Toxic Heavy Metals: The Next Generation of Personal Exposure Biomonitors 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;115(12):1683-1690.
To support the development and implementation of biological monitoring programs, we need quantitative technologies for measuring xenobiotic exposure. Microanalytical based sensors that work with complex biomatrices such as blood, urine, or saliva are being developed and validated and will improve our ability to make definitive associations between chemical exposures and disease. Among toxic metals, lead continues to be one of the most problematic. Despite considerable efforts to identify and eliminate Pb exposure sources, this metal remains a significant health concern, particularly for young children. Ongoing research focuses on the development of portable metal analyzers that have many advantages over current available technologies, thus potentially representing the next generation of toxic metal analyzers. In this article, we highlight the development and validation of two classes of metal analyzers for the voltammetric detection of Pb, including: a) an analyzer based on flow injection analysis and anodic stripping voltammetry at a mercury-film electrode, and b) Hg-free metal analyzers employing adsorptive stripping voltammetry and novel nanostructure materials that include the self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous supports and carbon nanotubes. These sensors have been optimized to detect Pb in urine, blood, and saliva as accurately as the state-of-the-art inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry with high reproducibility, and sensitivity allows. These improved and portable analytical sensor platforms will facilitate our ability to conduct biological monitoring programs to understand the relationship between chemical exposure assessment and disease outcomes.
doi:10.1289/ehp.10190
PMCID: PMC2137133  PMID: 18087583
biomonitoring; dosimetry technology; electrochemical sensors; exposure assessment; lead (Pb)
9.  Sequence-dependent electrical response of ssDNA-decorated carbon nanotube, field-effect transistors to dopamine 
Summary
Single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)-based field-effect transistors (FETs) have been explored for use as biological/chemical sensors. Dopamine (DA) is a biomolecule with great clinical significance for disease diagnosis, however, SWCNT FETs lack responsivity and selectivity for its detection due to the presence of interfering compounds such as uric acid (UA). Surface modification of CNTs using single-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (ssDNA) renders the surface responsive to DA and screens the interferent. Due to the presence of different bases in ssDNA, it is necessary to investigate the effect of sequence on the FET-based molecular recognition of DA. SWCNT FETs were decorated with homo- and repeated-base ssDNA sequences, and the electrical response induced by DA in the presence and absence of UA was gauged in terms of the variation in transistor electrical parameters including conductance, transconductance, threshold voltage and hysteresis gap. Our results showed that the response of ssDNA-decorated devices to DA, irrespective of the presence or absence of UA, was DNA sequence dependent and exhibited the trend: G > A > C and GA > GT > AC > CT, for homo- and repeated-base sequences, respectively. The different response of various SWCNT–ssDNA systems to DA underlines the sequence selectivity, whereas the detection of DA in the presence of UA highlights the molecular selectivity of the ssDNA-decorated devices.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.220
PMCID: PMC4273222  PMID: 25551039
carbon nanotube; deoxyribonucleic acid; dopamine; field-effect transistor; uric acid
10.  Analytical modeling of glucose biosensors based on carbon nanotubes 
In recent years, carbon nanotubes have received widespread attention as promising carbon-based nanoelectronic devices. Due to their exceptional physical, chemical, and electrical properties, namely a high surface-to-volume ratio, their enhanced electron transfer properties, and their high thermal conductivity, carbon nanotubes can be used effectively as electrochemical sensors. The integration of carbon nanotubes with a functional group provides a good and solid support for the immobilization of enzymes. The determination of glucose levels using biosensors, particularly in the medical diagnostics and food industries, is gaining mass appeal. Glucose biosensors detect the glucose molecule by catalyzing glucose to gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide in the presence of oxygen. This action provides high accuracy and a quick detection rate. In this paper, a single-wall carbon nanotube field-effect transistor biosensor for glucose detection is analytically modeled. In the proposed model, the glucose concentration is presented as a function of gate voltage. Subsequently, the proposed model is compared with existing experimental data. A good consensus between the model and the experimental data is reported. The simulated data demonstrate that the analytical model can be employed with an electrochemical glucose sensor to predict the behavior of the sensing mechanism in biosensors.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-33
PMCID: PMC3898395  PMID: 24428818
Carbon nanotube; SWCNT FET; Glucose detection; Biosensor; Analytical model; I-V characteristics; PBS; Glucose oxide
11.  An analytical approach to evaluate the performance of graphene and carbon nanotubes for NH3 gas sensor applications 
Summary
Carbon, in its variety of allotropes, especially graphene and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), holds great potential for applications in variety of sensors because of dangling π-bonds that can react with chemical elements. In spite of their excellent features, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene have not been fully exploited in the development of the nanoelectronic industry mainly because of poor understanding of the band structure of these allotropes. A mathematical model is proposed with a clear purpose to acquire an analytical understanding of the field-effect-transistor (FET) based gas detection mechanism. The conductance change in the CNT/graphene channel resulting from the chemical reaction between the gas and channel surface molecules is emphasized. NH3 has been used as the prototype gas to be detected by the nanosensor and the corresponding current–voltage (I–V) characteristics of the FET-based sensor are studied. A graphene-based gas sensor model is also developed. The results from graphene and CNT models are compared with the experimental data. A satisfactory agreement, within the uncertainties of the experiments, is obtained. Graphene-based gas sensor exhibits higher conductivity compared to that of CNT-based counterpart for similar ambient conditions.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.85
PMCID: PMC4077376  PMID: 24991510
carbon nanotube (CNT); conductance; FET-based gas sensor; graphene
12.  Ferroelectric memory based on nanostructures 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):285.
In the past decades, ferroelectric materials have attracted wide attention due to their applications in nonvolatile memory devices (NVMDs) rendered by the electrically switchable spontaneous polarizations. Furthermore, the combination of ferroelectric and nanomaterials opens a new route to fabricating a nanoscale memory device with ultrahigh memory integration, which greatly eases the ever increasing scaling and economic challenges encountered in the traditional semiconductor industry. In this review, we summarize the recent development of the nonvolatile ferroelectric field effect transistor (FeFET) memory devices based on nanostructures. The operating principles of FeFET are introduced first, followed by the discussion of the real FeFET memory nanodevices based on oxide nanowires, nanoparticles, semiconductor nanotetrapods, carbon nanotubes, and graphene. Finally, we present the opportunities and challenges in nanomemory devices and our views on the future prospects of NVMDs.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-285
PMCID: PMC3506495  PMID: 22655750
13.  Chemo-sensors development based on low-dimensional codoped Mn2O3-ZnO nanoparticles using flat-silver electrodes 
Background
Semiconductor doped nanostructure materials have attained considerable attention owing to their electronic, opto-electronic, para-magnetic, photo-catalysis, electro-chemical, mechanical behaviors and their potential applications in different research areas. Doped nanomaterials might be a promising owing to their high-specific surface-area, low-resistances, high-catalytic activity, attractive electro-chemical and optical properties. Nanomaterials are also scientifically significant transition metal-doped nanostructure materials owing to their extraordinary mechanical, optical, electrical, electronic, thermal, and magnetic characteristics. Recently, it has gained significant interest in manganese oxide doped-semiconductor materials in order to develop their physico-chemical behaviors and extend their efficient applications. It has not only investigated the basic of magnetism, but also has huge potential in scientific features such as magnetic materials, bio- & chemi-sensors, photo-catalysts, and absorbent nanomaterials.
Results
The chemical sensor also displays the higher-sensitivity, reproducibility, long-term stability, and enhanced electrochemical responses. The calibration plot is linear (r2 = 0.977) over the 0.1 nM to 50.0 μM 4-nitrophenol concentration ranges. The sensitivity and detection limit is ~4.6667 μA cm-2 μM-1 and ~0.83 ± 0.2 nM (at a Signal-to-Noise-Ratio, SNR of 3) respectively. To best of our knowledge, this is the first report for detection of 4-nitrophenol chemical with doped Mn2O3-ZnO NPs using easy and reliable I-V technique in short response time.
Conclusions
As for the doped nanostructures, NPs are introduced a route to a new generation of toxic chemo-sensors, but a premeditate effort has to be applied for doped Mn2O3-ZnO NPs to be taken comprehensively for large-scale applications, and to achieve higher-potential density with accessible to individual chemo-sensors. In this report, it is also discussed the prospective utilization of Mn2O3-ZnO NPs on the basis of carcinogenic chemical sensing, which could also be applied for the detection of hazardous chemicals in ecological, environmental, and health care fields.
doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-60
PMCID: PMC3630067  PMID: 23537000
Doped Mn2O3-ZnO nanoparticles; Wet-chemical method; Powder X-ray diffraction; 4-nitrophenol; I-V technique; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; Sensitivity
14.  Toxicogenomics to Improve Comprehension of the Mechanisms Underlying Responses of In Vitro and In Vivo Systems to Nanomaterials: A Review  
Current Genomics  2008;9(8):571-585.
Engineered nanomaterials are commonly defined as materials with at least one dimension of 100 nanometers or less. Such materials typically possess nanostructure-dependent properties (e.g., chemical, mechanical, electrical, optical, magnetic, biological), which make them desiderable for commercial or medical application. However, these same properties may potentially lead to nanostructure-dependent biological activity that differs from and is not directly predicted by the bulk properties of the constitutive chemicals and compounds. Nanoparticles and nanomaterials can be on the same scale of living cells components, including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and cellular organelles. When considering nanoparticles it must be asked how man-made nanostructures can interact with or influence biological systems. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are an example of carbon-based nanomaterial, which has won a huge spreading in nanotechnology. The incorporation of CNTs in living systems has raised many concerns because of their hydrophobicity and tendency to aggregate and accumulate into cells, organs, and tissues with dangerous effects.
Applications of toxicogenomics to both investigative and predictive toxicology will contribute to the in-depth investigation of molecular mechanisms or the mode of nanomaterials action that is achieved by using conventional toxicological approaches. Parallel toxicogenomic technologies will promote a valuable platform for the development of biomarkers, in order to predict possible nanomaterial’s toxicity. The potential of characteristic gene expression profiles (“fingerprint”) of exposure or toxicological response to nanoparticles will be discussed in the review to enhance comprehension of the molecular mechanism of in vivo and in vitro system exposed to nanomaterials.
doi:10.2174/138920208786847962
PMCID: PMC2694561  PMID: 19516964
Nanomaterials; toxicogenomics.
15.  Electronic Detection of Lectins Using Carbohydrate Functionalized Nanostructures: Graphene versus Carbon Nanotubes 
ACS Nano  2011;6(1):760-770.
Here we investigated the interactions between lectins and carbohydrates using field-effect transistor (FET) devices comprised of chemically converted graphene (CCG) and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Pyrene- and porphyrin-based glycoconjugates were functionalized noncovalently on the surface of CCG-FET and SWNT-FET devices, which were then treated with 2 µM of nonspecific and specific lectins. In particular, three different lectins (PA-IL, PA-IIL and ConA) and three carbohydrate epitopes (galactose, fucose and mannose) were tested. The responses of 36 different devices were compared and rationalized using computer-aided models of carbon nanostructure/glycoconjugate interactions. Glycoconjugates surface coverage in addition to one-dimensional structures of SWNTs resulted in optimal lectin detection. Additionally, lectin titration data of SWNT- and CCG-based biosensors were used to calculate lectin dissociation constants (Kd) and compare them to the values obtained from the isothermal titration microcalorimetry (ITC) technique.
doi:10.1021/nn2042384
PMCID: PMC3265614  PMID: 22136380
carbon nanotubes; graphene; carbohydrate; lectin; sensors
16.  Kinked p-n Junction Nanowire Probes for High Spatial Resolution Sensing and Intracellular Recording 
Nano Letters  2012;12(3):1711-1716.
Semiconductor nanowires and other semiconducting nanoscale materials configured as field-effect transistors have been studied extensively as biological/chemical (bio/chem.) sensors. These nanomaterials have demonstrated high-sensitivity from one- and two-dimensional sensors, although the realization of the ultimate point-like detector has not been achieved. In this regard, nanoscale p-n diodes are attractive since the device element is naturally localized near the junction, and while nanowire p-n diodes have been widely studied as photovoltaic devices, their applications as bio/chem. sensors have not been explored. Here we demonstrate that p-n diode devices can serve as a new and powerful family of highly localized biosensor probes. Designed nanoscale axial p-n junctions were synthetically introduced at the joints of kinked silicon nanowires. Scanning electron microscopy images showed that the kinked nanowire structures were achieved, and electrical transport measurements exhibited rectifying behavior with well-defined turn-on in forward bias as expected for a p-n diode. In addition, scanning gate microscopy demonstrated that the most sensitive region of these nanowires was localized near the kinked region at the p-n junction. High spatial resolution sensing using these p-n diode probes was carried out in aqueous solution using fluorescent charged polystyrene nanobeads. Multiplexed electrical measurements show well-defined single-nanoparticle detection, and experiments with simultaneous confocal imaging correlate directly the motion of the nanobeads with the electrical signals recorded from the p-n devices. In addition, kinked p-n junction nanowires configured as three-dimensional probes demonstrate the capability of intracellular recording of action potentials from electrogenic cells. These p-n junction kinked nanowire devices, which represent a new way of constructing nanoscale probes with highly-localized sensing regions, provide substantial opportunity in areas ranging from bio/chem. sensing and nanoscale photon detection to three-dimensional recording from within living cells and tissue.
doi:10.1021/nl300256r
PMCID: PMC3303933  PMID: 22309132
nanosensor; nanoprobe; nano-bioelectronics; nanoelectronic device; diode
17.  Protein Biosensors Based on Polymer Nanowires, Carbon Nanotubes and Zinc Oxide Nanorods 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2011;11(5):5087-5111.
The development of biosensors using electrochemical methods is a promising application in the field of biotechnology. High sensitivity sensors for the bio-detection of proteins have been developed using several kinds of nanomaterials. The performance of the sensors depends on the type of nanostructures with which the biomaterials interact. One dimensional (1-D) structures such as nanowires, nanotubes and nanorods are proven to have high potential for bio-applications. In this paper we review these three different kinds of nanostructures that have attracted much attention at recent times with their great performance as biosensors. Materials such as polymers, carbon and zinc oxide have been widely used for the fabrication of nanostructures because of their enhanced performance in terms of sensitivity, biocompatibility, and ease of preparation. Thus we consider polymer nanowires, carbon nanotubes and zinc oxide nanorods for discussion in this paper. We consider three stages in the development of biosensors: (a) fabrication of biomaterials into nanostructures, (b) alignment of the nanostructures and (c) immobilization of proteins. Two different methods by which the biosensors can be developed at each stage for all the three nanostructures are examined. Finally, we conclude by mentioning some of the major challenges faced by many researchers who seek to fabricate biosensors for real time applications.
doi:10.3390/s110505087
PMCID: PMC3231366  PMID: 22163892
biosensor; nanostructures; electrochemical; immobilization
18.  Evidences For Charge Transfer-Induced Conformational Changes In Carbon Nanostructure-Protein Corona 
The binding of proteins to a nanostructure often alters protein secondary and tertiary structures. However, the main physical mechanisms that elicit protein conformational changes in the presence of the nanostructure have not yet been fully established. Here we performed a comprehensive spectroscopic study to probe the interactions between bovine serum albumin (BSA) and carbon-based nanostructures of graphene and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Our results showed that the BSA “corona” acted as a weak acceptor to facilitate charge transfer from the carbon nanostructures. Notably, we observed that charge transfer occurred only in the case of SWNTs but not in graphene, resulting from the sharp and discrete electronic density of states of the former. Furthermore, the relaxation of external α–helices in BSA secondary structure increased concomitantly with the charge transfer. These results may help guide controlled nanostructure-biomolecular interactions and prove beneficial for developing novel drug delivery systems, biomedical devices and engineering of safe nanomaterials.
doi:10.1021/jp3085028
PMCID: PMC3519440  PMID: 23243478
Protein corona; charge transfer; graphene; carbon nanotubes; Raman spectroscopy; FTIR spectroscopy
19.  Advances in NO2 sensing with individual single-walled carbon nanotube transistors 
Summary
The charge carrier transport in carbon nanotubes is highly sensitive to certain molecules attached to their surface. This property has generated interest for their application in sensing gases, chemicals and biomolecules. With over a decade of research, a clearer picture of the interactions between the carbon nanotube and its surroundings has been achieved. In this review, we intend to summarize the current knowledge on this topic, focusing not only on the effect of adsorbates but also the effect of dielectric charge traps on the electrical transport in single-walled carbon nanotube transistors that are to be used in sensing applications. Recently, contact-passivated, open-channel individual single-walled carbon nanotube field-effect transistors have been shown to be operational at room temperature with ultra-low power consumption. Sensor recovery within minutes through UV illumination or self-heating has been shown. Improvements in fabrication processes aimed at reducing the impact of charge traps have reduced the hysteresis, drift and low-frequency noise in carbon nanotube transistors. While open challenges such as large-scale fabrication, selectivity tuning and noise reduction still remain, these results demonstrate considerable progress in transforming the promise of carbon nanotube properties into functional ultra-low power, highly sensitive gas sensors.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.227
PMCID: PMC4273237  PMID: 25551046
carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNFETs); cross-sensitivity; functionalization; gas sensors; hysteresis; low power; selectivity; self-heating; single walled carbon nanotubes
20.  Label-free electrical detection of pyrophosphate generated from DNA polymerase reactions on field-effect devices† 
The Analyst  2012;137(6):1351-1362.
We introduce a label-free approach for sensing polymerase reactions on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) using a chelator-modified silicon-on-insulator field-effect transistor (SOI-FET) that exhibits selective and reversible electrical response to pyrophosphate anions. The chemical modification of the sensor surface was designed to include rolling-circle amplification (RCA) DNA colonies for locally enhanced pyrophosphate (PPi) signal generation and sensors with immobilized chelators for capture and surface-sensitive detection of diffusible reaction by-products. While detecting arrays of enzymatic base incorporation reactions is typically accomplished using optical fluorescence or chemiluminescence techniques, our results suggest that it is possible to develop scalable and portable PPi-specific sensors and platforms for broad biomedical applications such as DNA sequencing and microbe detection using surface-sensitive electrical readout techniques.
doi:10.1039/c2an15930a
PMCID: PMC3367324  PMID: 22262038
21.  The Importance of Chemistry in Creating Well-Defined Nanoscopic Embedded Therapeutics: Devices Capable of the Dual Functions of Imaging and Therapy 
Accounts of Chemical Research  2011;44(10):969-978.
Nanomedicine is a rapidly evolving field, for which polymer building blocks are proving useful for the construction of sophisticated devices that provide enhanced diagnostic imaging and treatment of disease, known as theranostics. These well-defined nanoscopic objects have high loading capacities, can protect embedded therapeutic cargo, and offer control over the conditions and rates of release. Theranostics also offer external surface area for the conjugation of ligands to impart stealth characteristics and/or direct their interactions with biological receptors and provide a framework for conjugation of imaging agents to track delivery to diseased site(s). The nanoscopic dimensions allow for extensive biological circulation. The incorporation of such multiple functions is complicated, requiring exquisite chemical control during production and rigorous characterization studies to confirm the compositions, structures, properties, and performance.
We are particularly interested in the study of nanoscopic objects designed for treatment of lung infections and acute lung injury, urinary tract infections, and cancer. This Account highlights our work over several years to tune the assembly of unique nanostructures. We provide examples of how the composition, structure, dimensions, and morphology of theranostic devices can tune their performance as drug delivery agents for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.
The evolution of nanostructured materials from relatively simple overall shapes and internal morphologies to those of increasing complexity is driving the development of synthetic methodologies for the preparation of increasingly complex nanomedicine devices. Our nanomedicine devices are derived from macromolecules that have well-defined compositions, structures, and topologies, which provide a framework for their programmed assembly into nanostructures with controlled sizes, shapes, and morphologies. The inclusion of functional units within selective compartments/domains allows us to create (multi)functional materials. We employ combinations of controlled radical and ring-opening polymerizations, chemical transformations, and supramolecular assembly to construct such materials as functional entities. The use of multifunctional monomers with selective polymerization chemistries affords regiochemically functionalized polymers. Further supramolecular assembly processes in water with further chemical transformations provide discrete nanoscopic objects within aqueous solutions. This approach echoes processes in nature, whereby small molecules (amino acids, nucleic acids, saccharides) are linked into polymers (proteins, DNA/RNA, polysaccharides, respectively) and then those polymers fold into three-dimensional conformations that can lead to nanoscopic functional entities.
doi:10.1021/ar200097k
PMCID: PMC3196832  PMID: 21675721
22.  The importance of chemistry in creating well-defined nanoscopic embedded therapeutics: Devices capable of the dual functions of imaging and therapy 
Accounts of chemical research  2011;44(10):969-978.
CONSPECTUS
Nanomedicine is a rapidly evolving field, for which polymer building blocks are proving useful for the construction of sophisticated devices that provide enhanced diagnostic imaging and treatment of disease, known as theranostics. These well-defined nanoscopic objects have high loading capacities, can protect embedded therapeutic cargo, and offer control over the conditions and rates of release. Theranostics also offer external surface area for the conjugation of ligands to impart stealth characteristics and/or direct their interactions with biological receptors and provide a framework for conjugation of imaging agents to track delivery to diseased site(s). The nanoscopic dimensions allow for extensive biological circulation. The incorporation of such multiple functions is complicated, requiring exquisite chemical control during production and rigorous characterization studies to confirm the compositions, structures, properties and performance.
We are particularly interested in the study of nanoscopic objects designed for treatment of lung infections and acute lung injury, urinary tract infections, and cancer. This Account highlights our work over several years to tune the assembly of unique nanostructures. We provide examples of how the composition, structure, dimensions, and morphology of theranostic devices can tune their performance as drug delivery agents for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.
The evolution of nanostructured materials from relatively simple overall shapes and internal morphologies to those of increasing complexity is driving the development of synthetic methodologies for the preparation of increasingly complex nanomedicine devices. Our nanomedicine devices are derived from macromolecules that have well-defined compositions, structures and topologies, which provide a framework for their programmed assembly into nanostructures with controlled sizes, shapes and morphologies. The inclusion of functional units within selective compartments/domains allows us to create (multi)functional materials. We employ combinations of controlled radical and ring opening polymerizations, chemical transformations, and supramolecular assembly to construct such materials as functional entities. The use of multi-functional monomers with selective polymerization chemistries affords regiochemically-functionalized polymers. Further supramolecular assembly processes in water with further chemical transformations provide discrete nanoscopic objects within aqueous solutions. This approach echoes processes in Nature, whereby small molecules (amino ac ids, nucleic acids, saccharides) are linked into polymers (proteins, DNA/RNA, polysaccharides, respectively) and then those polymers fold into three-dimensional conformations that can lead to nanoscopic functional entities.
doi:10.1021/ar200097k
PMCID: PMC3196832  PMID: 21675721
block copolymers; nanoparticles; theranostics; targeted drug delivery; biodistribution
23.  Electrical Percolation Based Biosensors 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2013;63(3):282-289.
A new approach to label free biosensing has been developed based on the principle of “electrical percolation”. In electrical percolation, long-range electrical connectivity is formed in randomly oriented and distributed systems of discrete elements. By applying this principle to biological interactions, it is possible to measure biological components both directly and electronically. The main element for electrical percolation biosensor is the biological semiconductor (BSC) which is a multi-layer 3-D carbon nanotube-antibody network. In the BSC, molecular interactions, such as binding of antigens to the antibodies, disrupt the network continuity causing increased resistance of the network. BSCs can be fabricated by immobilizing conducting elements, such as pre-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs)-antibody complex, directly onto a substrate, such as a Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) surface (also known as plexi-glass or Acrylic).
BSCs have been demonstrated for direct (label-free) electronic measurements of antibody-antigen binding using SWNTs. If the concentration of the SWNT network is slightly above the electrical percolation threshold, then binding of a specific antigen to the pre-functionalized SWNT dramatically increases the electrical resistance due to changes in the tunneling between the SWNTs. Using anti-Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) IgG as a “gate” and SEB as an “actuator”, it was demonstrated that the BSC was able to detect SEB at concentrations of 1 ng/ml. Based on this concept, an automated configuration for BSCs is described here that enables real time continuous detection. The new BSC configuration may permit assembly of multiple sensors on the same chip to create “Biological Central Processing Units (CPUs)” with multiple biological elements, capable of processing and sorting out information on multiple analytes simultaneously.
doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.08.031
PMCID: PMC3902888  PMID: 24041756
biosensor; semiconductor; carbon nanotubes; electrical percolation; antibody
24.  Nanostructures: a platform for brain repair and augmentation 
Nanoscale structures have been at the core of research efforts dealing with integration of nanotechnology into novel electronic devices for the last decade. Because the size of nanomaterials is of the same order of magnitude as biomolecules, these materials are valuable tools for nanoscale manipulation in a broad range of neurobiological systems. For instance, the unique electrical and optical properties of nanowires, nanotubes, and nanocables with vertical orientation, assembled in nanoscale arrays, have been used in many device applications such as sensors that hold the potential to augment brain functions. However, the challenge in creating nanowires/nanotubes or nanocables array-based sensors lies in making individual electrical connections fitting both the features of the brain and of the nanostructures. This review discusses two of the most important applications of nanostructures in neuroscience. First, the current approaches to create nanowires and nanocable structures are reviewed to critically evaluate their potential for developing unique nanostructure based sensors to improve recording and device performance to reduce noise and the detrimental effect of the interface on the tissue. Second, the implementation of nanomaterials in neurobiological and medical applications will be considered from the brain augmentation perspective. Novel applications for diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, meningitis, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and autism will be considered. Because the blood brain barrier (BBB) has a defensive mechanism in preventing nanomaterials arrival to the brain, various strategies to help them to pass through the BBB will be discussed. Finally, the implementation of nanomaterials in neurobiological applications is addressed from the brain repair/augmentation perspective. These nanostructures at the interface between nanotechnology and neuroscience will play a pivotal role not only in addressing the multitude of brain disorders but also to repair or augment brain functions.
doi:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00091
PMCID: PMC4064704  PMID: 24999319
nanotechnology; brain repair and augmentation; brain activity mapping; blood brain barrier; carbon nanotube; multi-electrode array; nano-imprint lithography; inter-laminar microcircuit
25.  Electrophoretic deposition of biomaterials 
Journal of the Royal Society Interface  2010;7(Suppl 5):S581-S613.
Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is attracting increasing attention as an effective technique for the processing of biomaterials, specifically bioactive coatings and biomedical nanostructures. The well-known advantages of EPD for the production of a wide range of microstructures and nanostructures as well as unique and complex material combinations are being exploited, starting from well-dispersed suspensions of biomaterials in particulate form (microsized and nanoscale particles, nanotubes, nanoplatelets). EPD of biological entities such as enzymes, bacteria and cells is also being investigated. The review presents a comprehensive summary and discussion of relevant recent work on EPD describing the specific application of the technique in the processing of several biomaterials, focusing on (i) conventional bioactive (inorganic) coatings, e.g. hydroxyapatite or bioactive glass coatings on orthopaedic implants, and (ii) biomedical nanostructures, including biopolymer–ceramic nanocomposites, carbon nanotube coatings, tissue engineering scaffolds, deposition of proteins and other biological entities for sensors and advanced functional coatings. It is the intention to inform the reader on how EPD has become an important tool in advanced biomaterials processing, as a convenient alternative to conventional methods, and to present the potential of the technique to manipulate and control the deposition of a range of nanomaterials of interest in the biomedical and biotechnology fields.
doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0156.focus
PMCID: PMC2952181  PMID: 20504802
electrophoretic deposition; carbon nanotubes; hydroxyapatite; bioactive glass; scaffolds; tissue engineering

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