Angle-Resolved XPS Analysis and Characterization of Monolayer and Multilayer Silane Films for DNA Coupling to Silica

Rebecca A. Shircliff, Paul Stradins, Helio Moutinho, John Fennell, Maria L. Ghirardi, Scott W. Cowley, Howard M. Branz, Ina T. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus Citations


We measure silane density and Sulfo-EMCS cross-linker coupling efficiency on aminosilane films by high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements. We then characterize DNA immobilization and hybridization on these films by 32P-radiometry. We find that the silane film structure controls the efficiency of the subsequent steps toward DNA hybridization. A self-limited silane monolayer produced from 3-aminopropyldimethylethoxysilane (APDMES) provides a silane surface density of ∼3 nm-2. Thin (1 h deposition) and thick (19 h deposition) multilayer films are generated from 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES), resulting in surfaces with increased roughness compared to the APDMES monolayer. Increased silane surface density is estimated for the 19 h APTES film, due to a ∼32% increase in surface area compared to the APDMES monolayer. High cross-linker coupling efficiencies are measured for all three silane films. DNA immobilization densities are similar for the APDMES monolayer and 1 h APTES. However, the DNA immobilization density is double for the 19 h APTES, suggesting that increased surface area allows for a higher probe attachment. The APDMES monolayer has the lowest DNA target density and hybridization efficiency. This is attributed to the steric hindrance as the random packing limit is approached for DNA double helices (dsDNA, diameter ≥ 2 nm) on a plane. The heterogeneity and roughness of the APTES films reduce this steric hindrance and allow for tighter packing of DNA double helices, resulting in higher hybridization densities and efficiencies. The low steric hindrance of the thin, one to two layer APTES film provides the highest hybridization efficiency of nearly 88%, with 0.21 dsDNA/nm2. The XPS data also reveal water on the cross-linker-treated surface that is implicated in device aging.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4057-4067
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5200-58665


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