A self-powered photoelectrochemical aptamer probe for oxytetracycline based on the use of a NiO nanocrystal/g-C3N4 heterojunction


A self-powered photoelectrochemical (PEC) aptamer probe is presented for the determination of oxytetracycline (OTC). The assay is based on the use of g-C3N4 and NiO nanocrystals (NCs) which form a heterojunction. The latter was prepared by two-step hydrothermal pyrolysis by using the ionic liquid 1-hydroxyethyl-3-methylimidazole chloride which functions as a morphological template to form NiO NCs. The heterojunction exhibits much better electronic conductivity, wider absorption range, higher electron-hole-separation productivity, and stronger photocurrent compared to plain g-C3N4. The heterojunction was adopted to construct a self-powered PEC aptamer probe for OTC detection. An OTC-binding aptamer was immobilized on the heterojunction and the probe was constructed. The aptamer on the probe binding with OTC can form steric hindrance for transmitting of electrons and cause the PEC signal change depending on the OTC concentration. The photocurrent decreases with increasing OTC concentration in the 0.01 to 100 nM concentration range and its detection limit is 4 pM (at S/N = 3).

Schematic representation of a self-powered photochemical aptamer probe. The probe performs enhanced ability for oxytetracycline (OTC) determination due to the formation of NiO nanocrystals/g-C3N4 (NiO NCs/g-C3N4) heterojunction and the specification recognition of the aptamer.

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This work has been financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21705058), Six Talent Peaks Project of Jiangsu Province (XNY-009), the Provincial Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu (No. BK20170524, BK20160492), Chinese Postdoctoral Foundation (2018 T110450), High-tech Research Key laboratory of Zhenjiang (SS2018002) and a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, Jiangsu University Scientific Research Funding (17JDG007).

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Duan, W., Yan, P., Dong, J. et al. A self-powered photoelectrochemical aptamer probe for oxytetracycline based on the use of a NiO nanocrystal/g-C3N4 heterojunction. Microchim Acta 186, 737 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-019-3856-0

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  • NiO
  • g-C3N4
  • Heterojunction
  • Ionic liquid
  • Self-power
  • Nanocrystals
  • PEC
  • Aptamer
  • Oxytetracycline
  • High sensitivity