DNA-Biofunctionalization of CTAC-capped gold nanocubes
in: Nanomaterials (2020)
Clinical diagnostics and disease control are fields that strongly depend on technologies for rapid, sensitive, and selective detection of biological or chemical analytes. Nanoparticles have become an integral part in various biomedical detection devices and nanotherapeutics. An increasing focus is laid on gold nanoparticles as they express less cytotoxicity, high stability, and hold unique optical properties with the ability of signal transduction of biological recognition events with enhanced analytical performance. Strong electromagnetic field enhancements can be found in close proximity to the nanoparticle that can be exploited to enhance signals for e.g. metal-enhanced fluorescence or Raman spectroscopy. Even stronger field enhancements can be achieved with sharp-edged nanoparticles, which are synthesized with the help of facet blocking agents, such as cetyltrimethylammonium bromide/chloride (CTAB/CTAC). However, chemical modification of the nanoparticle surface is necessary to reduce the particle’s cytotoxicity, stabilize it against aggregation, and to bioconjugate it with biomolecules to increase its biocompatibility and/or specificity for analytical applications. Here, a reliable two-step protocol following a ligand exchange with bis(p-sulfonatophenyl) phenyl phosphine (BSPP) as the intermediate capping-agent is demonstrated, which results in the reliable biofunctionalization of CTAC-capped gold nanocubes with thiol-modified DNA. The functionalized nanocubes have been characterized regarding their electric potential, plasmonic properties, and stability against high concentrations of NaCl and MgCl2.