Cavitand-Grafted Silicon Microcantilevers as a Universal Probe for Illicit and Designer Drugs in Water

Authors

  • Dr. Elisa Biavardi,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Parma and INSTM Udr Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 17A, 43124 Parma (Italy)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Dr. Stefania Federici,

    1. Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale, Laboratorio di Chimica per le Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia (Italy)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Dr. Cristina Tudisco,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università degli Studi di Catania and INSTM Udr Catania (Italy)
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  • Dr. Daniela Menozzi,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Parma and INSTM Udr Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 17A, 43124 Parma (Italy)
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  • Dr. Chiara Massera,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Parma and INSTM Udr Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 17A, 43124 Parma (Italy)
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  • Andrea Sottini,

    1. Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale, Laboratorio di Chimica per le Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia (Italy)
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  • Prof. Guglielmo G. Condorelli,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università degli Studi di Catania and INSTM Udr Catania (Italy)
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  • Dr. Paolo Bergese,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale, Laboratorio di Chimica per le Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia (Italy)
    • Paolo Bergese, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale, Laboratorio di Chimica per le Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia (Italy)

      Enrico Dalcanale, Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Parma and INSTM Udr Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 17A, 43124 Parma (Italy)

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  • Prof. Enrico Dalcanale

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Parma and INSTM Udr Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 17A, 43124 Parma (Italy)
    • Paolo Bergese, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale, Laboratorio di Chimica per le Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia (Italy)

      Enrico Dalcanale, Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Parma and INSTM Udr Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 17A, 43124 Parma (Italy)

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  • This work was supported by the European Union through the DIRAC project (FP7-SEC-2009-242309) and by Regione Lombardia-INSTM through the SNAF project. Centro Intefacoltà di Misure “G. Casnati” of the University of Parma is acknowledged for the use of NMR and high-resolution MS facilities and M. Tegoni for the help with HypNMR software. The authors thank P. Esseiva and F. Bonadio (Institut de Police Scientifique, UNIL) for providing illicit drugs, and K. Severin (EPFL) for the use of NMR facilities in preliminary complexation experiments; L. Aalberg of the National Bureau of Investigation of the Finnish Police for providing the seized street sample of 3-FMA. Permission to use small quantities of illicit drugs has been granted to E.D. in the framework of the FP7 Dirac project by the Italian Ministero della Salute (permission No. SP/032 of 02.02.2012).

Abstract

The direct, clean, and unbiased transduction of molecular recognition into a readable and reproducible response is the biggest challenge associated to the use of synthetic receptors in sensing. All possible solutions demand the mastering of molecular recognition at the solid–liquid interface as prerequisite. The socially relevant issue of screening amine-based illicit and designer drugs is addressed by nanomechanical recognition at the silicon–water interface. The methylamino moieties of different drugs are all first recognized by a single cavitand receptor through a synergistic set of weak interactions. The peculiar recognition ability of the cavitand is then transferred with high fidelity and robustness on silicon microcantilevers and harnessed to realize a nanomechanical device for label-free detection of these drugs in water.

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