Bio-templated Substrates for Biosensor Applications

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Nanopatterning of materials is of particular interest for applications in biosensors, microfluidics, and drug delivery devices. In biosensor applications there is a need for rapid, low cost, and durable system for detection. This dissertation aims to investigate methods to pattern nanostructured surfaces using virus particles as templates. The virus species used in these experiments is a cysteine modified tobacco mosaic virus. The first project utilized the lamellar microphase separation of a block copolymer to pattern the virus particles. Although microphase separation of the poly(styrene-b-2-vinylpyridine) (PS-P2VP) into lamellae was confirmed, specificity of the viruses to the gold doped block of the polymer could not be achieved. Single virus particles lay across multiple lamellae and aggregated in side-to-side and head-to-tail arrangements. The second project studied the effect of a surfactant on virus assembly onto a gold chip. The experiments included placing a gold chip in virus solutions with varying triton concentrations (0-0.15%), then plating the virus particles with a metal. Results showed that as the triton concentration in the virus solution increases, the virus density on the surface decreases. The gold coated virus particles were applied to Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) detection in the final project. SERS is of interest for biosensor applications due to its rapid detection, low cost, portability, and label-free characteristics. In recent years, it has shown signal enhancement using gold, silver, and copper nanoparticles in solutions and on roughened surfaces. The gold plated virus surfaces were tested as SERS substrates using R6G dye as the analyte. An enhancement factor (EF) of 10^4 was seen in these samples versus the non-SERS substrate. This corresponded to the sample with 0.05% triton in the virus solution which showed the most intersection points between the virus particles and the most uniform coverage of the viruses on the surface. This value is lower than that of previous studies; however, future work may be performed to optimize conditions to achieve the highest signal possible.