A researcher at Argonne National Lab has developed a technique for attaching biomolecules such as proteins and anti-bodies to diamond coatings.
The technique relies on ultra-nanocrystalline diamond (UNCD), which can be doped with nitrogen and made highly electrically conductive. "We immerse UNCD in a solution and apply voltages, which creates radicals that react with the diamond surface to form strong carbon-carbon bonds," says Jian Want, Argonne researcher. This layer of organic radicals can be used to anchor biomolecules, an important step in developing sensors to detect anthrax, monitor blood sugar levels, or handle other lab-on-a-chip functions.
The sensors will need to use biomolecules, and this technique gives engineers a way to attach them to a chip or other silicon-based features.