Electrochemical, photoelectrochemical, and surface plasmon resonance detection of cocaine using supramolecular aptamer complexes and metallic or semiconductor nanoparticles

  • Golub E
  • Pelossof G
  • Freeman R
 et al. 
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Metallic or semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs) are used as labels for the electrochemical, photoelectrochemical, or surface plasmon resonance (SPR) detection of cocaine using a common aptasensor configuration. The aptasensors are based on the use of two anticocaine aptamer subunits, where one subunit is assembled on a Au support, acting as an electrode or a SPR-active surface, and the second aptamer subunit is labeled with Pt-NPs, CdS-NPs, or Au-NPs. In the different aptasensor configurations, the addition of cocaine results in the formation of supramolecular complexes between the NPs-labeled aptamer subunits and cocaine on the metallic surface, allowing the quantitative analysis of cocaine. The supramolecular Pt-NPs-aptamer subunits-cocaine complex allows the detection of cocaine by the electrocatalyzed reduction of H2O2. The photocurrents generated by the CdS-NPs-labeled aptamer subunits-cocaine complex, in the presence of triethanol amine as a hole scavenger, allows the photoelectrochemical detection of cocaine. The supramolecular Au-NPs-aptamer subunits-cocaine complex generated on the Au support allows the SPR detection of cocaine through the reflectance changes stimulated by the electronic coupling between the localized plasmon of the Au-NPs and the surface plasmon wave. All aptasensor configurations enable the analysis of cocaine with a detection limit in the range of 10−6 to 10−5 M. The major advantage of the sensing platform is the lack of background interfering signals.

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