Nano Research

Article Title

Scalable arrays of chemical vapor sensors based on DNA-decorated graphene


graphene, vapor sensor, DNA, photolithography, chemical gating


Arrays of chemical vapor sensors based on graphene field effect transistors functionalized with single-stranded DNA have been demonstrated. Standard photolithographic processing was adapted for use on large-area graphene by including a metal protection layer, which protected the graphene from contamination and enabled fabrication of high quality field-effect transistors (GFETs). Processed graphene devices had hole mobilities of 1,640 ± 250 cm2·V–1·s–1 and Dirac voltages of 15 ± 10 V under ambient conditions. Atomic force microscopy was used to verify that the graphene surface remained uncontaminated and therefore suitable for controlled chemical functionalization. Single-stranded DNA was chosen as the functionalization layer due to its affinity to a wide range of target molecules and π–π stacking interaction with graphene, which led to minimal degradation of device characteristics. The resulting sensor arrays showed analyte- and DNA sequence-dependent responses down to parts-per-billion concentrations. DNA/GFET sensors were able to differentiate among chemically similar analytes, including a series of carboxylic acids, and structural isomers of carboxylic acids and pinene. Evidence for the important role of electrostatic chemical gating was provided by the observation of understandable differences in the sensor response to two compounds that differed only by the replacement of a (deprotonating) hydroxyl group by a neutral methyl group. Finally, target analytes were detected without loss of sensitivity in a large background of a chemically similar, volatile compound. These results motivate further development of the DNA/graphene sensor family for use in an electronic olfaction system.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press