Gold nanowire based electrical DNA detection using rolling circle amplification

Camilla Russell, Ken Welch, Jonas Jarvius, Yixiao Cai, Rimantas Brucas, Fredrik Nikolajeff, Peter Svedlindh, Mats Nilsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


We present an electrical sensor that uses rolling circle amplification (RCA) of DNA to stretch across the gap between two electrodes, interact with metal nanoparticle seeds to generate an electrically conductive nanowire, and produce electrical signals upon detection of specific target DNA sequences. RCA is a highly specific molecular detection mechanism based on DNA probe circularization. With this technique, long single-stranded DNA with simple repetitive sequences are produced. Here we show that stretched RCA products can be metalized using silver or gold solutions to form metal wires. Upon metallization, the resistance drops from TΩ to kΩ for silver and to Ω for gold. Metallization is seeded by gold nanoparticles aligned along the single-stranded DNA product through hybridization of functionalized oligonucleotides. We show that combining RCA with electrical DNA detection produces results in readout with very high signal-to-noise ratio, an essential feature for sensitive and specific detection assays. Finally, we demonstrate detection of 10 ng of Escherichia coli genomic DNA using the sensor concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1153
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • gold conjugation
  • gold nanoparticles
  • metal enhancement
  • nanoelectronics
  • rolling circle amplification


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