Specifically horizontally tethered DNA probes on Au surfaces allow labelled and label-free DNA detection using SERS and electrochemically driven melting

E. Papadopoulou, N. Gale, J. F. Thompson, T. A. Fleming, T. Brown and P. N. Bartlett. Chem. Sci. 7 (1), 386-393, 2016.


Controlled covalent attachment of dsDNA horizontally orientated on a gold surface is achieved through the use of a single surface-linker located approximately half way along the attached DNA probe strand. We show that horizontally oriented dsDNA on a gold surface can undergo melting and re-hybridization to target strand in solution and thus can be used for the detection of specific target DNA sequences using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). We show that a range of lengths of target DNA sequences from ?30-bases to 78-bases can be specifically hybridized to the short immobilized DNA probe sequence and adopt a horizontal orientation on the gold surface. Following thermal or electrochemically driven melting of the immobilized dsDNA, the target DNA strand diffuses away while the probe strand remains attached to the surface allowing the functionalized surfaces to be reused. The melting of the horizontally orientated immobilized dsDNA can be monitored using SERS either by employing a dye label covalently attached on the DNA target strand or by employing a binding agent selective for dsDNA. This approach of covalently immobilizing the DNA probe strand through a linker located at approximately the middle of the strand has great potential to improve the sensitivity and specificity of molecular assays that employ DNA arrays on solid surfaces.