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Although strategies for the immobilization of DNA oligonucleotides onto surfaces for bioanalytical and top-down bio-inspired nanobiofabrication approaches are well developed, the effect of introducing spacer molecules between the surface and the DNA oligonucleotide for the hybridization of nanoparticle-DNA conjugates has not been previously assessed in a quantitative manner. The hybridization efficiency of DNA oligonucleotides end-labelled with gold nanoparticles (1.4 or 10 nm diameter) with DNA sequences conjugated to silicon surfaces via hexaethylene glycol phosphate diester oligomer spacers (0, 1, 2, 6 oligomers) was found to be independent of spacer length. To quantify both the density of DNA strands attached to the surfaces and hybridization with the surface-attached DNA, new methodologies have been developed. Firstly, a simple approach based on fluorescence has been developed for determination of the immobilization density of DNA oligonucleotides. Secondly, an approach using mass spectrometry has been created to establish (i) the mean number of DNA oligonucleotides attached to the gold nanoparticles and (ii) the hybridization density of nanoparticle-oligonucleotide conjugates with the silicon surface-attached complementary sequence. These methods and results will be useful for application with nanosensors, the self-assembly of nanoelectronic devices and the attachment of nanoparticles to biomolecules for single-molecule biophysical studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Nucleic Acids Res

Publication Date





DNA Probes, Fluorescent Dyes, Gold, Immobilized Nucleic Acids, Mass Spectrometry, Metal Nanoparticles, Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Silicon