This PhD thesis describes the development of diamond-based DNA sensors. CVD diamond was chosen as the substrate material, because a strong covalent carbon-carbon bond can be created in this case, creating a highly stable platform for reusable biosensors or even for continuous monitoring. Moreover, diamond has favourable properties for sensing based on optical (transparency for a large spectral range) as well as electrical signals (semiconductor, stable in aqueous solutions with a wide potential window).
The first specific goal for this thesis was to establish the initial functionalisation of CVD diamond surfaces that would allow for the covalent linking of biomolecules, in casu DNA. This was obtained by UV attachment of omega-unsaturated fatty acid molecules (10-undecenoic acid) followed by the use of the zero-length crosslinker EDC to attach amino-modified DNA. The second goal was to characterise the diamond surfaces extensively with physical and (bio-)chemical methods to check the effectiveness of various surface treatments, and to elucidate the molecular organisation of the obtained linker layers and DNA brushes. Point mutation-sensitivity was achieved with end-point fluorescence as well as a real-time label-free electrical sensor prototype. The conformation of the end-tethered DNA molecules was investigated with spectroscopic ellipsometry.