29 March 2004 Field effect sensors for PCR applications
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The use of field effect sensors for biological and chemical sensing is widely employed due to its ability to make detections based on charge and surface potential. Because proteins and DNA almost always carry a charge [1], silicon can be used to micro fabricate such a sensor. The EIS structure (Electrolyte on Insulator on Silicon) provides a novel, label-free and simple to fabricate way to make a field effect DNA detection sensor. The sensor responds to fluctuating capacitance caused by a depletion layer thickness change at the surface of the silicon substrate through DNA adsorption onto the dielectric oxide/PLL (Poly-L-Lysine) surface. As DNA molecules diffuse to the sensor surface, they are bound to their complimentary capture probes deposited on the surface. The negative charge exhibited by the DNA forces negative charge carriers in the substrate to move away from the surface. This causes an n-type depletion layer substrate to thicken and a p-type to thin. The depletion layer thickness can be measured by its capacitance using an LCR meter. This experiment is conducted using the ConVolt (constant voltage) approach. Nucleic acids are amplified by an on chip PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) system and then fed into the sensor. The low ionic solution strength will ensure that counter-ions do not affect the sensor measurements. The sensor surface contains capture probes that bind to the pathogen. The types of pathogens we’ll be detecting include salmonella, campylobacter and E.Coli DNA. They are held onto the sensor surface by the positively charged Poly-L-Lysine layer. The electrolyte is biased through a pseudo-reference electrode. Pseudo reference electrodes are usually made from metals such as Platinum or Silver. The problem associated with “floating” biasing electrodes is they cannot provide stable biasing potentials [2]. They drift due to surface charging effects and trapped charges on the surface. To eliminate this, a differential system consisting of 2 sensors that share a common pseudo-reference electrode is used to cancel out this effect. This paper will look at a differential system for multi-arrayed biosensors fabricated on silicon.
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Meng-Houit Taing, Denis R. Sweatman, "Field effect sensors for PCR applications", Proc. SPIE 5275, BioMEMS and Nanotechnology, (29 March 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.529843; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.529843


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