Tailoring the dimensionality of carbon nanostructures as highly electrochemical supports for detection of carcinoembryonic antigens†
Partially- and fully-unzipped nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (NCNTs) were prepared by unzipping pristine NCNTs and three carbon nanostructures were applied to support Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) to form nanocomposites (Au/NCNTs, Au/PU-NCNTs, and Au/FU-NCNTs). The electrochemical behavior and the electrocatalytic activities of the nanocomposite-modified electrodes were examined. The oxygen functional groups, doped N content, and AuNP loaded concentrations are dependent on the unzipping-degree and then affect the electrochemical response and electrocatalytic performance of the electrodes. Besides, the three nanocomposites were also used for the immobilization of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) aptamer strands and applied for the detection of CEA. The Au/FU-NCNTs possess the optimal electrocatalytic activity and biosensing performance for the biomolecules and CEA, which is attributed to the maximum loaded AuNPs, the largest specific surface areas and the most active sites. The Au/FU-NCNT-based electrochemical aptasensor exhibits high sensitivity with a low detection limit of 6.84 pg mL−1 within a broad linear range of CEA concentration from 0.01 to 10 ng mL−1. All of these results indicate that the Au/FU-NCNTs may be a potential support for construction of aptasensors with high electrochemical effect and can be employed in the fields of biosensing or biomedical diagnosis.