Chemoselective Nanowire Fuses: Chemically Induced Cleavage and Electrical Detection of Carbon Nanofiber Bridges



A new type of nanoscale bioswitch based on the electrical detection of chemically induced cleavage of chemical bonds, which bind individual nanowires across a pair of electrodes is demonstrated. Carbon nanofibers are manipulated using dielectrophoresis to form single-nanowire bridges across microelectrode junctions, and are anchored through a biomolecular interaction. Once in place, chemically induced cleavage of a recognition site along the bonds linking the nanowire to the electrodes allows the nanowire to be easily removed by a flow of fluid; this removal can be detected in real time via changes in the AC electrical response. This form of sensing is inherently digital in nature as the removal of a single nanowire produces a sudden decrease in the current between electrodes and is essentially a chemoselective fuse. These results suggest that this sensing principle could be a general method for digital chemical and/or biological sensing using individual nanowires.