Microfabricated EIS biosensor for detection of DNA
This paper focuses on the design of an EIS (electrolyte on insulator on Silicon) structure as a detection method for pathogenic DNA. Current rapid detection methods rely on fluorescent labeling to determine binding affinity. Fluorescent quenching is seen by a change in activity as opposed to non-quenched states. Sensitive optical equipment is required to detect and distinguish these colour changes because they cannot be seen by the naked eye. The disadvantages of this is (1) a portable, independent device cannot be made since samples have to be brought back to the benchtop and (2) the obvious cost of acquiring and maintaining these optical detection systems. A low cost, portable electrical detection method has been investigated. The EIS structure (Electrolyte on Insulator on Silicon) provides a novel, label-free and simple to fabricate way to make a small field effect DNA detection sensor. The sensor responds to fluctuating capacitances caused by a depletion layer thickness change at the surface of the silicon substrate as a result of DNA adsorption onto the dielectric oxide/APTES (Aminopropylthioxysilane) surface. As DNA molecules diffuse to the sensor surface, they are bound to their complimentary capture probes. The negative charge exhibited by the DNA forces negative charge carriers in the silicon substrate to move away from the surface. This causes a depletion layer in n-type substrate to thicken and for a p-type to thin and can be observed as a change in capacitance. A low ionic solution strength will ensure that counter-ions do not affect the sensor measurements. The EIS sensor is designed to be later integrated into a complete lab on chip solution. A full lab on chip can incorporate the sensor to perform DNA quantity based measurements. Nucleic acids can be amplified by the on chip PCR system and then fed into the sensor to work out the DNA concentration. The sensor surface contains capture probes that will bind to the pathogen. They are held onto the sensor surface by the positively charged layer. The sensor will have onboard electronics to process the signals and determine the result of the measurements. The sensitivity of the sensor is on par with similar capacitance sensing technologies and is expected to be improved with later enhancements.
Proceedings of SPIE: Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Volume 6036, 2006