Microcantilever Biosensors with Chitosan for the Detection of Nucleic Acids and Dopamine
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Microcantilever biosensors allow label-free detection of analytes within small sample volumes. They are, however, often limited in sensitivity or specificity due to the lack of proper bio-interface layers. This thesis presents the use of the biopolymer chitosan as a bio-interface material for microcantilevers with unique advantages. Sensors coated with chitosan were designed, fabricated, and functionalized to demonstrate two distinct applications: detection of DNA hybridization and detection of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The first demonstration resulted in signals from DNA hybridization that exceed by two orders of magnitude values previously published for sensors coated with SAM (self assembled monolayer) interface. The second application is the first reported demonstration of using microcantilevers for detection of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and it is enabled by chitosan's response to dopamine electrochemical oxidation. It was shown that this method can selectively detect dopamine from ascorbic acid, a chemical that interferes with dopamine detection in biological samples.