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Biological Sensing and DNA Templated Electronics Using Conjugated Polymers  PDF

Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary
Per Björk
Publication Year
<p>Conjugated polymers have been found useful in a wide range of applications such as solar cells, sensor elements and printed electronics, due to their optical and electronic properties. Functionalization with charged side chains has enabled water solubility, resulting in an enhanced interaction with biomolecules. This thesis focus on the emerging research fields, where these conjugated polyelectrolytes (CPEs) are combined with biomolecules for biological sensing and DNA nanowire assembling.</p><p>CPEs have shown large potential in biomolecular detection where the optical read out is due to the geometrical alternation in the backbone and aggregation state. This thesis focused on transferring the biomolecular detection to a surface of CPEs. The characterization of the CPE layer show that a hydrogel can be formed, and how the layer can undergo geometrical changes upon external stimulus such as pH change. A selective sensor surface can be created by imprinting ssDNA or an antibody in the CPE layer. The discrimination for complementary DNA hybridization and specific antibody interaction can be monitored by surface plasmon resonance or quartz crystal microbalance. We have also taken the step out from the controlled test tube experiments to the complex environment of the cell showing the potential for staining of compartments and structures in live and fixed cell. Depending on the conditions and CPE used, cell nuclei, acidic vesicles and cytoskeleton structure can be visualized. Furthermore, the live staining shows no sign of toxic effect on cultured fibroblasts.</p><p>CPEs can also be a valuable element when assembling electronics in the true nano regime. I have used DNA as building template due to its attractive size features, with a width of around 2 nm and a length scale in the µm regime, and the inbuilt base-paring recognition elements. This thesis shows how DNA can be decorated with CPEs and stretched on surfaces into a model for aligned semiconducting nanowire geometries. Not only making the template structures is of importance, but also how to place them on the correct surface position, i.e. on electrodes. Strategies for positioning DNA nanowires using transfer printing and surface energy patterning methods have therefore been developed in the thesis. The stretched DNA decorated with CPE also offers a way to further study the molecular binding interaction between the two molecules. Single molecular spectroscopy in combination with polarization has given information of the variation of the CPE binding along a DNA chain.</p>