This paper describes the development of novel biosensor surfaces supported by robust self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of aromatic alkanedithiol and oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) linker for highly sensitive surface plasmon resonance (SPR) detection of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Aromatic alkanedithiol SAMs were firstly formed on Au sensor surface and TNT analogues were immobilized on it through OEG chain. Two kinds of OEG containing amine compounds, where H2N(C2H4O)11C2H4NHCOOC(CH3)3 served as a linker to react with carboxyl groups of TNT analogues while H2N(C2H4O)3C2H4OH served as a protein non-fouling background, were covalently bound to carboxyl terminal groups of SAMs with a certain ratio. Optimal ratio of them was also examined. Three kinds of TNT analogues, namely TNP-glycine, DNP-glycine, and DNP-acetic acid were used as immobilized ligands. Highly sensitive TNT detection by indirect competitive assay was conducted on the fabricated sensor surfaces; we examined how structural variations of them affect sensitivity in order to choose optimal hapten as well to improve sensitivity. The DNP-acetic acid immobilized surface, which had the lowest affinity to the TNT antibody among the three, showed the best limit of detection (LOD) value (ca. 80 ppt (pg ml-1)). On the other hand, the TNP-glycine immobilized surface, which had the highest affinity, showed the worst LOD value (ca. 220 ppt). The LOD got lower to ca. 50 ppt by the use of the secondary antibody on the DNP-acetic acid immobilized surface. The sensor surfaces are durable for more than 100 times repeated use without any noticeable deterioration by their chemical stability and rather mild regeneration condition.
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