Continuous small-molecule monitoring with a digital single particle switch

Junhong Yan (Corresponding author), Laura van Smeden, Maarten Merkx, Peter Zijlstra, Menno W.J. Prins (Corresponding author)

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review


The ability to continuously measure concentrations of small molecules is important for biomedical, environmental and industrial monitoring. However, due to their low molecular mass it is difficult to quantify concentrations of such molecules, particularly at low concentrations. Here we describe a small-molecule sensor that is generalizable, sensitive, specific, reversible, and suited for continuous monitoring over long durations. The sensor consists of particles attached to a sensing surface via a double stranded DNA tether. The particles transiently bind to the sensing surface via single molecular affinity interactions and the transient binding is optically detected as digital binding events via the Brownian motion of the particles. The rate of binding events decreases with increasing analyte concentration, because analyte molecules inhibit binding of the tethered particle to the surface. The sensor enables continuous measurements of analyte concentrations due to the reversibility of the inter-molecular bonds and digital read-out of particle motion. We show results for the monitoring of short single-stranded DNA sequences and creatinine, a small-molecule biomarker (113 Da) for kidney function, demonstrating a temporal resolution of a few minutes. The precision of the sensor is determined by the statistics of the digital switching events, which means that the precision is tunable by the number of particles and the measurement time.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1168-1176
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftACS Sensors
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
Vroegere onlinedatum19 mrt 2020
StatusGepubliceerd - 24 apr 2020


Citeer dit