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  1. Perumal V, Hashim U, Gopinath SC, Haarindraprasad R, Liu WW, Poopalan P, et al.
    PLoS One, 2015;10(12):e0144964.
    PMID: 26694656 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144964
    The creation of an appropriate thin film is important for the development of novel sensing surfaces, which will ultimately enhance the properties and output of high-performance sensors. In this study, we have fabricated and characterized zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films on silicon substrates, which were hybridized with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to obtain ZnO-Aux (x = 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 nm) hybrid structures with different thicknesses. Nanoscale imaging by field emission scanning electron microscopy revealed increasing film uniformity and coverage with the Au deposition thickness. Transmission electron microscopy analysis indicated that the AuNPs exhibit an increasing average diameter (5-10 nm). The face center cubic Au were found to co-exist with wurtzite ZnO nanostructure. Atomic force microscopy observations revealed that as the Au content increased, the overall crystallite size increased, which was supported by X-ray diffraction measurements. The structural characterizations indicated that the Au on the ZnO crystal lattice exists without any impurities in a preferred orientation (002). When the ZnO thickness increased from 10 to 40 nm, transmittance and an optical bandgap value decreased. Interestingly, with 50 nm thickness, the band gap value was increased, which might be due to the Burstein-Moss effect. Photoluminescence studies revealed that the overall structural defect (green emission) improved significantly as the Au deposition increased. The impedance measurements shows a decreasing value of impedance arc with increasing Au thicknesses (0 to 40 nm). In contrast, the 50 nm AuNP impedance arc shows an increased value compared to lower sputtering thicknesses, which indicated the presence of larger sized AuNPs that form a continuous film, and its ohmic characteristics changed to rectifying characteristics. This improved hybrid thin film (ZnO/Au) is suitable for a wide range of sensing applications.
  2. Perumal V, Hashim U, Gopinath SC, Haarindraprasad R, Poopalan P, Liu WW, et al.
    Biosens Bioelectron, 2016 Apr 15;78:14-22.
    PMID: 26584078 DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2015.10.083
    Creating novel nanostructures is a primary step for high-performance analytical sensing. Herein, a new worm like nanostructure with Zinc Oxide-gold (ZnO/Au) hybrid was fabricated through an aqueous hydrothermal method, by doping Au-nanoparticle (AuNP) on the growing ZnO lattice. During ZnO growth, fine tuning the solution temperature expedites random curving of ZnO nanorods and forms nano-worms. The nano-worms which were evidenced by morphological, physical and structural analyses, revealed elongated structures protruding from the surface (length: 1 µm; diameter: ~100 nm). The appropriate peaks for the face centred cubic gold were (111) and (200), as seen from X-ray diffractogram. The strong interrelation between Au and ZnO was manifested by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The combined surface area increment from the nanoparticle radii and ZnO nanorod random curving gives raise an enhancement in detection sensitivity by increasing bio-loading. 'Au-decorated hybrid nano-worm' was immobilized with a probe DNA from Vibrio Cholera and duplexed with a target which was revealed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Our novel Au-decorated hybrid nano-worm is suitable for high-performance bio-sensing, as evidenced by impedance spectroscopy, having higher-specificity and attained femtomolar (10 fM) sensitivity. Further, higher stability, reproducibility and regeneration on this sensing surface were demonstrated.
  3. Haarindraprasad R, Hashim U, Gopinath SC, Perumal V, Liu WW, Balakrishnan SR
    Anal Chim Acta, 2016 Jun 21;925:70-81.
    PMID: 27188319 DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2016.04.030
    Diabetes is a metabolic disease with a prolonged elevated level of glucose in the blood leads to long-term complications and increases the chances for cardiovascular diseases. The present study describes the fabrication of a ZnO nanowire (NW)-modified interdigitated electrode (IDE) to monitor the level of blood glucose. A silver IDE was generated by wet etching-assisted conventional lithography, with a gap between adjacent electrodes of 98.80 μm. The ZnO-based thin films and NWs were amended by sol-gel and hydrothermal routes. High-quality crystalline and c-axis orientated ZnO thin films were observed by XRD analyses. The ZnO thin film was annealed for 1, 3 and 5 h, yielding a good-quality crystallite with sizes of 50, 100 and 110 nm, and the band gaps were measured as 3.26, 3.20 and 3.17 eV, respectively. Furthermore, a flower-modeled NW was obtained with the lowest diameter of 21 nm. Our designed ZnO NW-modified IDE was shown to have a detection limit as low as 0.03 mg/dL (correlation coefficient = 0.98952) of glucose with a low response time of 3 s, perform better than commercial glucose meter, suitable to instantly monitor the glucose level of diabetes patients. This study demonstrated the high performance of NW-mediated IDEs for glucose sensing as alternative to current glucose sensors.
  4. Ten ST, Hashim U, Gopinath SC, Liu WW, Foo KL, Sam ST, et al.
    Biosens Bioelectron, 2017 Jul 15;93:146-154.
    PMID: 27660016 DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2016.09.035
    Surface acoustic wave mediated transductions have been widely used in the sensors and actuators applications. In this study, a shear horizontal surface acoustic wave (SHSAW) was used for the detection of food pathogenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E.coli O157:H7), a dangerous strain among 225 E. coli unique serotypes. A few cells of this bacterium are able to cause young children to be most vulnerable to serious complications. Presence of higher than 1cfu E.coli O157:H7 in 25g of food has been considered as a dangerous level. The SHSAW biosensor was fabricated on 64° YX LiNbO3 substrate. Its sensitivity was enhanced by depositing 130.5nm thin layer of SiO2 nanostructures with particle size lesser than 70nm. The nanostructures act both as a waveguide as well as a physical surface modification of the sensor prior to biomolecular immobilization. A specific DNA sequence from E. coli O157:H7 having 22 mers as an amine-terminated probe ssDNA was immobilized on the thin film sensing area through chemical functionalization [(CHO-(CH2)3-CHO) and APTES; NH2-(CH2)3-Si(OC2H5)3]. The high-performance of sensor was shown with the specific oligonucleotide target and attained the sensitivity of 0.6439nM/0.1kHz and detection limit was down to 1.8femto-molar (1.8×10(-15)M). Further evidence was provided by specificity analysis using single mismatched and complementary oligonucleotide sequences.
  5. Tai MJY, Perumal V, Gopinath SCB, Raja PB, Ibrahim MNM, Jantan IN, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2021 03 09;11(1):5475.
    PMID: 33750861 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-85039-2
    Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), requires a high level of attention and is one of the most infectious diseases in the air. Present methods of diagnosing TB remain ineffective owing to their low sensitivity and time consumption. In this study, we produced a green graphene nanofiber laser biosensor (LSG-NF) decorated with oil palm lignin-based synthetic silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). The resulting composite morphology was observed by field-emission scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, which revealed the effective adaptation of the AgNPs to the LSG-NF surface. The successful attachment of AgNPs and LSG-NFs was also evident from X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy studies. In order to verify the sensing efficiency, a selective DNA sample captured on AgNPs was investigated for specific binding with M.tb target DNA through selective hybridisation and mismatch analysis. Electrochemical impedance studies further confirmed sensitive detection of up to 1 fM, where a detection limit of 10-15 M was obtained by estimating the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N = 3:1) as 3σ. Successful DNA immobilisation and hybridisation was confirmed by the detection of phosphorus and nitrogen peaks based on X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The stability and repeatability of the analysis were high. This approach provides an affordable potential sensing system for the determination of M. tuberculosis biomarker and thus provides a new direction in medical diagnosis.
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