Detection of analytes by means of field-effect transistors bearing ligand-specific receptors is fundamentally limited by the shielding created by the electrical double layer (the “Debye length” limitation). We detected small molecules under physiological high–ionic strength conditions by modifying printed ultrathin metal-oxide field-effect transistor arrays with deoxyribonucleotide aptamers selected to bind their targets adaptively. Target-induced conformational changes of negatively charged aptamer phosphodiester backbones in close proximity to semiconductor channels gated conductance in physiological buffers, resulting in highly sensitive detection. Sensing of charged and electroneutral targets (serotonin, dopamine, glucose, and sphingosine-1-phosphate) was enabled by specifically isolated aptameric stem-loop receptors.
Nanoribbon- and nanowire-based field-effect transistors (FETs) have attracted significant attention due to their high surface-to-volume ratios, which make them effective as chemical and biological sensors. However, the conventional nanofabrication of these devices is challenging and costly, posing a major barrier to widespread use. We report a high-throughput approach for producing arrays of ultrathin (∼3 nm) In2O3 nanoribbon FETs at the wafer scale. Uniform films of semiconducting In2O3 were prepared on Si/SiO2 surfaces via a sol–gel process prior to depositing Au/Ti metal layers. Commercially available high-definition digital versatile discs were employed as low-cost, large-area templates to prepare polymeric stamps for chemical lift-off lithography, which selectively removed molecules from self-assembled monolayers functionalizing the outermost Au surfaces. Nanoscale chemical patterns, consisting of one-dimensional lines (200 nm wide and 400 nm pitch) extending over centimeter length scales, were etched into the metal layers using the remaining monolayer regions as resists. Subsequent etch processes transferred the patterns into the underlying In2O3 films before the removal of the protective organic and metal coatings, revealing large-area nanoribbon arrays. We employed nanoribbons in semiconducting FET channels, achieving current on-to-off ratios over 107 and carrier mobilities up to 13.7 cm2 V–1 s–1. Nanofabricated structures, such as In2O3 nanoribbons and others, will be useful in nanoelectronics and biosensors. The technique demonstrated here will enable these applications and expand low-cost, large-area patterning strategies to enable a variety of materials and design geometries in nanoelectronics.
Serotonin-based nanoparticles represent a class of previously unexplored multifunctional nanoplatforms with potential biomedical applications. Serotonin, under basic conditions, self-assembles into monodisperse nanoparticles via autoxidation of serotonin monomers. To demonstrate potential applications of polyserotonin nanoparticles for cancer therapeutics, we show that these particles are biocompatible, exhibit photothermal effects when exposed to near-infrared radiation, and load the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin, releasing it contextually and responsively in specific microenvironments. Quantum mechanical and molecular dynamics simulations were performed to interrogate the interactions between surface-adsorbed drug molecules and polyserotonin nanoparticles. To investigate the potential of polyserotonin nanoparticles for in vivo targeting, we explored their nano–bio interfaces by conducting protein corona experiments. Polyserotonin nanoparticles had reduced surface–protein interactions under biological conditions compared to polydopamine nanoparticles, a similar polymer material widely investigated for related applications. These findings suggest that serotonin-based nanoparticles have advantages as drug-delivery platforms for synergistic chemo- and photothermal therapy associated with limited nonspecific interactions.