Biomedical Diagnostics Using Manmade Nanostructures Integrated with Biomolecules
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There has been extensive research done on the bioengineering applications of nanoparticles. This thesis extended that work and focused on the application of semiconductor nanoparticles specifically as nano-scale detectors. By integrating two novel nanomaterial components, quantum dots and aptamers, nano-scale detectors may be fabricated. These nano-scale detectors make systematic studies on the molecular level possible and have other advantages described in the thesis. The analytes for such nanobiosensors include ions, cells, oligonucleotides, peptides or proteins. In this research, foodborne pathogens and potassium ions were chosen as the primary targets in the development of the nanosensors described in this thesis; due to their importance in the food industry and the biological sciences, respectively. More specifically, quantum dots were conjugated with short single-stranded nucleic acids and their fluorescence response was studied and evaluated to determine the viability of using them in nanoscale detector applications. To optimize the nanosensors, nano-scale spacer molecules are introduced at selected locations near the active regions of the nanosensors, and nanosensors synthesized with two different aptamer sequences were performed. The nanosensors were then tested with different ions and in real biological fluids; the results indicated that these nanosensors have promising potential applications in both self-diagnostics devices and molecular biological science research. The electrophoresis behavior and Raman spectra of these conjugations were also studied to examine these conjugations, in efforts to achieve better control over the proportional compositions of the entities that form these nanostructures. Several electrokinetic behavior dependencies on the nanoconjugations were observed and examined with double layer theory. This thesis investigated this novel nanobiosensor thoroughly from probe construction, performance evaluation, optical property characterization, to possible quality control methods. This research emphasized the fabrication of nano-detectors and provided a model to fabricate nano-detectors for a wide range of analytes by selecting appropriate aptamers and linker molecules.