Deposition of DNA-Functionalized Gold Nanospheres into Nanoporous Surfaces

We report the deposition of DNA-conjugated gold nanospheres into arrays of surface nanopores obtained from hexagonally ordered thin polystyrene-b-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) diblock copolymer films on silicon. The deposition occurs spontaneously from aqueous solution and is driven by either electrostatic interactions or specific DNA hybridization events between the DNA nanospheres and the surface nanopores. To mitigate this spontaneous deposition, we have chemically modified the nanopores with either positively charged aminosilanes or oligonucleotide probe sequences. The deposition of DNA nanospheres into the surface nanopores was characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). We have observed preferential immobilization of individual DNA nanospheres within the nanopores, based on the size matching between the two entities. The inclusion density and selectivity of DNA nanosphere deposition into the surface nanopores was found to depend predominantly on the methods through which the nanoporous surfaces were prepared and chemically functionalized.