Diamondoid-functionalized gold nanogaps as sensors for natural, mutated, and epigenetically modified DNA nucleotides
Modified tiny hydrogen-terminated diamond structures, known as diamondoids, show a high efficiency in sensing DNA molecules. These diamond cages, as recently proposed, could offer functionalization possibilities for gold junction electrodes. In this investigation, we report on diamondoid-functionalized electrodes, showing that such a device would have a high potential in sensing and sequencing DNA. The smallest diamondoid including an amine modification was chosen for the functionalization. Here, we report on the quantum tunneling signals across diamondoid-functionalized Au(111) electrodes. Our work is based on quantum-transport calculations and predicts the expected signals arising from different DNA units within the break junctions. Different gating voltages are proposed in order to tune the sensitivity of the functionalized electrodes with respect to specific nucleotides. The relation of this sensitivity to the coupling or decoupling of the electrodes is discussed. Our results also shed light on the sensing capability of such a device in distinguishing the DNA nucleotides, in their natural and mutated forms.