Research Article


2018, 11(3): 1744–1754


Tunable excitonic emission of monolayer WS2 for the optical detection of DNA nucleobases

Shun Feng1, Chunxiao Cong2 (*), Namphung Peimyoo1,, Yu Chen1, Jingzhi Shang1, Chenji Zou1, Bingchen Cao1, Lishu Wu1, Jing Zhang1, Mustafa Eginligil3, Xingzhi Wang1, Qihua Xiong1, Arundithi Ananthanarayanan4, Peng Chen4, Baile Zhang1, and Ting Yu1 (*)

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1 Division of Physics and Applied Physics, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637371, Singapore
2 School of Information Science and Technology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
3 Key Laboratory of Flexible Electronics (KLOFE) & Institute of Advanced Materials (IAM), Jiangsu National Synergetic Innovation Center for Advanced Materials (SICAM), Nanjing Tech University (NanjingTech), 30 South Puzhu Road, Nanjing 211816, China
4 Division of Bioengineering, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637457, Singapore
Present address: College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QF, UK

Keywords: tungsten disulfide, photoluminescence, optical biosensing, chemical doping
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ABSTRACT Two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (2D TMDs) possess a tunable excitonic light emission that is sensitive to external conditions such as electric field, strain, and chemical doping. In this work, we reveal the interactions between DNA nucleobases, i.e., adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T) and monolayer WS2 by investigating the changes in the photoluminescence (PL) emissions of the monolayer WS2 after coating with nucleobase solutions. We found that adenine and guanine exert a clear effect on the PL profile of the monolayer WS2 and cause different PL evolution trends. In contrast, cytosine and thymine have little effect on the PL behavior. To obtain information on the interactions between the DNA bases and WS2, a series of measurements were conducted on adenine-coated WS2 monolayers, as a demonstration. The p-type doping of the WS2 monolayers on the introduction of adenine is clearly shown by both the evolution of the PL spectra and the electrical transport response. Our findings open the door for the development of label-free optical sensing approaches in which the detection signals arise from the tunable excitonic emission of the TMD itself rather than the fluorescence signals of label molecules. This dopant-selective optical response to the DNA nucleobases fills the gaps in previously reported optical biosensing methods and indicates a potential new strategy for DNA sequencing.
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Tunable excitonic emission of monolayer WS2 for the optical detection of DNA nucleobases. Nano Res. 2018, 11(3): 1744–1754

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