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Published July 23, 2008 | Supplemental Material + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Peptide−Nanowire Hybrid Materials for Selective Sensing of Small Molecules


The development of a miniaturized sensing platform for the selective detection of chemical odorants could stimulate exciting scientific and technological opportunities. Oligopeptides are robust substrates for the selective recognition of a variety of chemical and biological species. Likewise, semiconducting nanowires are extremely sensitive gas sensors. Here we explore the possibilities and chemistries of linking peptides to silicon nanowire sensors for the selective detection of small molecules. The silica surface of the nanowires is passivated with peptides using amide coupling chemistry. The peptide/nanowire sensors can be designed, through the peptide sequence, to exhibit orthogonal responses to acetic acid and ammonia vapors, and can detect traces of these gases from "chemically camouflaged" mixtures. Through both theory and experiment, we find that this sensing selectivity arises from both acid/base reactivity and from molecular structure. These results provide a model platform for what can be achieved in terms of selective and sensitive "electronic noses."

Additional Information

© 2008 American Chemical Society. Received April 5, 2008. Publication Date (Web): June 25, 2008. We thank S. Millward, W. Dichtel, and W. S. Yeo for useful discussions. The XPS measurements were carried out at the Molecular Materials Research Center of the Beckman Institute at Caltech. Peptide purification by HPLC was performed in the Beckman Institute Laser Resource Center at Caltech. M.C.M. thanks the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program for financial support. H.D.A. thanks the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program for financial support. R.D.R. thanks the Gates Millennium Scholars Program for financial support. J.R.H. acknowledges primary support of this work via a contract from the MITRE Corporation, and support from the National Cancer Institute (#5U54 CA119347).

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms478909.pdf

Supplemental Material - ja802506d-file001.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 25, 2023