Comparison of the stem-loop and linear probe-based electrochemical DNA sensors by alternating current voltammetry and cyclic voltammetry

Weiwei Yang, Rebecca Y. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Here we systematically characterized the sensor performance of the stem-loop probe (SLP) and linear probe (LP) electrochemical DNA sensors using alternating current voltammetry (ACV) and cyclic voltammetry (CV), with the goal of generating the set of operational criteria that best suits each sensor architecture, in addition to elucidating the signaling mechanism behind these sensors. Although the LP sensor shows slightly better % signal suppression (SS) upon hybridization with the perfect match target at 10 Hz, our frequency-dependent study suggests that it shows optimal % SS only in a very limited AC frequency range. Similar results are observed in CV studies in which the LP sensor, when compared to the SLP sensor, displays a narrower range of voltammetric scan rates where the optimal % SS can be achieved. More importantly, the difference between the two sensors' performance is particularly pronounced if the change in integrated charge (Q) upon target hybridization, rather than the peak current (I), is measured in CV. The temperature-dependent study further highlights the differences between the two sensors, where the LP sensor, owing to the flexible linear probe architecture, is more readily perturbed by temperature changes. Both SLP and LP sensors, however, show a loss of % SS when operated at elevated temperatures, despite the significant improvement in the hybridization kinetics. In conjunction with the ACV, CV, and temperature-dependent studies, the electron-transfer kinetics study provides further evidence in support of the proposed signaling mechanism of these two sensors, in which the SLP sensor's signaling efficiency and sensor performance is directly linked to the hybridization-induced conformational change in the redox-labeled probe, whereas the performance of the LP sensor relies on the hybridization-induced change in probe dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14669-14677
Number of pages9
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 6 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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