Highly Sensitive and Real-Time Detection of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Using Quartz Crystal Microbalance via DNA Induced Conjugation

Chanho Park, Hyunjun Park, Juneseok You, Sungsoo Na, Kuewhan Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


With the development of nanotechnology, nanomaterials have been widely used in the development of commercial products. In particular, zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) have been of great interest due to their extraordinary properties, such as semiconductive, piezoelectric, and absorbance properties in UVA and UVB (280–400 nm) spectra. However, recent studies have investigated the toxicity of these ZnONPs; therefore, a ZnONP screening tool is required for human health and environmental problems. In this study, we propose a detection method for ZnONPs using quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and DNA. The detection method was based on the resonance frequency shift of the QCM. In detail, two different complementary DNA strands were used to conjugate ZnONPs, which were subjected to mass amplification. One of these DNA strands was designed to hybridize to a probe DNA immobilized on the QCM electrode. By introducing the ZnONP conjugation, we were able to detect ZnONPs with a detection limit of 100 ng/mL in both distilled water and a real sample of drinking water, which is 3 orders less than the reported critical harmful concentration of ZnONPs. A phosphate terminal group, which selectively interacts with a zinc oxide compound, was also attached at one end of a DNA linker and was attributed to the selective detection of ZnONPs. As a result, better selective detection of ZnONPs was achieved compared to gold and silicon nanoparticles. This work demonstrated the potential of our proposed method as a ZnONP screening tool in real environmental water systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6113
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept


  • DNA
  • conjugation
  • high-sensitive, real-time detection
  • quartz crystal microbalance
  • zinc oxide nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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