Labelfree fully electronic nucleic acid detection system based on a field-effect transistor device

F Uslu, S Ingebrandt, D Mayer, S Böcker-Meffert, M Odenthal, A Offenhäusser
Biosensors & Bioelectronics 2004 July 15, 19 (12): 1723-31
The labelfree detection of nucleic acid sequences is one of the modern attempts to develop quick, cheap and miniaturised hand-held devices for the future genetic testing in biotechnology and medical diagnostics. We present an approach to detect the hybridisation of DNA sequences using electrolyte-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (EOSFETs) with micrometer dimensions. These semiconductor devices are sensitive to electrical charge variations that occur at the surface/electrolyte interface, i.e. upon hybridisation of oligonucleotides with complementary single-stranded (ss) oligonucleotides, which are immobilised on the oxide surface of the transistor gate. This method allows direct, time-resolved and in situ detection of specific nucleic acid binding events without any labelling. We focus on the detection mechanism of our sensors by using oppositely charged polyelectrolytes (PAH and PSS) subsequently attached to the transistor structures. Our results indicate that the sensor output is charge sensitive and distance dependent from the gate surface, which pinpoints the need for very defined surface chemistry at the device surface. The hybridisation of natural 19 base-pair sequences has been successfully detected with the sensors. In combination with nano-transistors a PCR free detection system might be feasible in future.

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