7 May 2012 Electrochemical quantum tunneling for electronic detection and characterization of biological toxins
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Abstract
This paper introduces a label-free, electronic biomolecular sensing platform for the detection and characterization of trace amounts of biological toxins within a complex background matrix. The mechanism for signal transduction is the electrostatic coupling of molecule bond vibrations to charge transport across an insulated electrode-electrolyte interface. The current resulting from the interface charge flow has long been regarded as an experimental artifact of little interest in the development of traditional charge based biosensors like the ISFET, and has been referred to in the literature as a "leakage current". However, we demonstrate by experimental measurements and theoretical modeling that this current has a component that arises from the rate-limiting transition of a quantum mechanical electronic relaxation event, wherein the electronic tunneling process between a hydrated proton in the electrolyte and the metallic electrode is closely coupled to the bond vibrations of molecular species in the electrolyte. Different strategies to minimize the effect of quantum decoherence in the quantized exchange of energy between the molecular vibrations and electron energy will be discussed, as well as the experimental implications of such strategies. Since the mechanism for the transduction of chemical information is purely electronic and does not require labels or tags or optical transduction, the proposed platform is scalable. Furthermore, it can achieve the chemical specificity typically associated with traditional micro-array or mass spectrometry-based platforms that are used currently to analyze complex biological fluids for trace levels of toxins or pathogen markers.
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Chaitanya Gupta, Chaitanya Gupta, Ross M. Walker, Ross M. Walker, Rishi Gharpuray, Rishi Gharpuray, Max M. Shulaker, Max M. Shulaker, Zhiyong Zhang, Zhiyong Zhang, Mehdi Javanmard, Mehdi Javanmard, Ronald W. Davis, Ronald W. Davis, Boris Murmann, Boris Murmann, Roger T. Howe, Roger T. Howe, } "Electrochemical quantum tunneling for electronic detection and characterization of biological toxins", Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 837303 (7 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.920692; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.920692
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