Microchimica Acta

, 186:268 | Cite as

Piezoelectric arsenite aptasensor based on the use of a self-assembled mercaptoethylamine monolayer and gold nanoparticles

  • Min Yuan
  • Qinqin Zhang
  • Zhihong Song
  • Tai Ye
  • Jinsong Yu
  • Hui Cao
  • Fei XuEmail author
Original Paper


The authors describe a piezoelectric aptasensor for arsenite. A self assembeled monolayer (SAM) of mercaptoethylamine was prepared to immobilize arsenite on the surface of a quartz crystal microbalance. Gold nanoparticles were modified with arsenite aptamer to amplify the response frequency of the biosensor. Arsenite first binds to the SAM on the gold surface of the QCM. On addition of gold nanoparticles with aptamer (DNA-AuNp), the SAM-As(III)-aptamer sandwich is formed. This increases the resonance frequency of the sensor and allows trace concentration of arsenite to be determined. The aptasensor can detect arsenite in the 8 to 1000 nmol·L−1 concentration range with a 4.4 nmol·L−1 lower detection limit (at S/N = 3). The sandwich structure improves the specificity of the aptasensor without considering the conformational transition of the aptamer. The strategy described here conceivably has a large potential as it shows that small molecules can be sensed by using aptamers with unknown working mechanism.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of a piezoelectric biosensor for arsenite detection by using a mercaptoethylamine monolayer and gold nanoparticles with respect to Arsenite first binds to the SAM on the gold surface of the QCM. Next, gold nanoparticles with aptamer (DNA-AuNp) are added to form a SAM-As(III)-aptamer sandwich which affects the resonance frequency.


Arsenite detection Piezoelectric sensor Signal amplification Quartz crystal microbalance biosensor Self-assembly Sandwich structure 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (61501295 and 31671934), Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2017YFC1600603), and Shanghai Committee of Science and Technology (18391901200 and 17391901500).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Yuan
    • 1
  • Qinqin Zhang
    • 1
  • Zhihong Song
    • 1
  • Tai Ye
    • 1
  • Jinsong Yu
    • 1
  • Hui Cao
    • 1
  • Fei Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Food Quality and SafetyUniversity of Shanghai for Science and TechnologyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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