Ultra-sensitive detection of zinc oxide nanowires using a quartz crystal microbalance and phosphoric acid DNA

Kuewhan Jang, Juneseok You, Chanhoo Park, Hyunjun Park, Jaeyeong Choi, Chang Hwan Choi, Jinsung Park, Howon Lee, Sungsoo Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advancements of nanomaterials have inspired numerous scientific and industrial applications. Zinc oxide nanowires (ZnO NWs) is one of the most important nanomaterials due to their extraordinary properties. However, studies performed over the past decade have reported toxicity of ZnO NWs. Therefore, there has been increasing demand for effective detection of ZnO NWs. In this study, we propose a method for the detection of ZnO NW using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and DNA probes. The detection method is based on the covalent interaction between ZnO NWs and the phosphoric acid group of single-stranded DNA (i.e., linker DNA), and DNA hybridization between the linker DNA and the probe DNA strand on the QCM electrode. Rapid, high sensitivity, in situ detection of ZnO NWs was demonstrated for the first time. The limit of detection was 10-4 μg ml-1 in deionized water, which represents a sensitivity that is 100000 times higher than the toxic ZnO NW concentration level. Moreover, the selectivity of the ZnO NW detection method was demonstrated by comparison with other types of nanowires and the method was able to detect ZnO NWs in tap water sensitively even after stored for 14 d in a refrigerator. The performance of our proposed method was sufficient to achieve detection of ZnO NW in the 'real-world' environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number365501
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1


  • DNA
  • detection, in-situ
  • quartz cyrstal microbalance (QCM)
  • zinc oxide nanowires (ZnO NWs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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