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Advanced Materials

Carbon Nanotubes for Electronic and Electrochemical Detection of Biomolecules


  • This work has been supported in part by PHS grant ES013557 from NIEHS/NIH, U.S. Army Research Office (ARO) grant DAAD-02-1-0381, AFSOR FA9550-06-0030 and US Army Medical Research Grant W81XWH-05-1-0539, and NSF DMI 0303950. The authors wish to thank Drs. J. Silvio Gutkind and Vyomesh Patel of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for collaboration in biomarker detection, Dr. P. Pehrsson of Naval Research Laboratory for stimulating discussions and Mr. Bhaskara Chikkaveeraiah for technical assistance.


The unique electronic and optical properties of carbon nanotubes, in conjunction with their size and mechanically robust nature, make these nanomaterials crucial to the development of next-generation biosensing platforms. In this Review, we present recent innovations in carbon nanotube-assisted biosensing technologies, such as DNA-hybridization, protein-binding, antibody-antigen and aptamers. Following a brief introduction on the diameter- and chirality-derived electronic characteristics of single-walled carbon nanotubes, the discussion is focused on the two major schemes for electronic biodetection, namely biotransistor- and electrochemistry-based sensors. Key fabrication methodologies are contrasted in light of device operation and performance, along with strategies for amplifying the signal while minimizing nonspecific binding. This Review is concluded with a perspective on future optimization based on array integration as well as exercising a better control in nanotube structure and biomolecular integration.

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