Characterization and application of a surface modification designed for QCM-D studies of biotinylated biomolecules
Journal article, 2011

The rapid development of surface sensitive biosensor technologies, especially towards nanoscale devices, requires increasing control of surface chemistry to provide reliable and reproducible results, but also to take full advantage of the sensing opportunities. Here, we present a surface modification strategy to allow biotinylated biomolecules to be immobilized to gold coated sensor crystals for quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) sensing. The unique feature of QCM-D is its sensitivity to nanomechanical (viscoelastic) properties at the sensing interface. The surface modification was based on mixed monolayers of oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) disulfides, with terminal -OH or biotin groups, on gold. Mixtures containing 1% of the biotin disulfide were concluded to be the most appropriate based on the performance when streptavidin was immobilized to biotinylated sensors and the subsequent biotinylated bovine serum albumin (BSA) interaction was studied. The OEG background kept the unspecific protein binding to a minimum, even when subjected to serum solutions with a high protein concentration. Based on characterization by contact angle goniometry, ellipsometry, and infrared spectroscopy, the monolayers were shown to be well-ordered, with the OEG chains predominantly adopting a helical conformation but also partly an amorphous structure. Storage stability was concluded to depend mainly on light exposure while almost all streptavidin binding activity was retained when storing the sensors cold and dark for 8 weeks. The surface modification was also tested for repeated antibody-antigen interactions between BSA and anti-BSA (immobilized to biotinylated protein A) in QCM-D measurements lasting for >10 h with intermediate basic regeneration. This proved an excellent stability of the coating and good reproducibility was obtained for 5 interaction cycles. With this kind of generic surface modification QCM-D can be used in a variety of biosensing applications to provide not only mass but also relevant information of the structural properties of adlayers.



plasmon resonance



Self-assembled monolayer



model system

self-assembled monolayers

Biomolecular interactions




protein adsorption

oligo(ethylene glycol)


quartz-crystal microbalance


Erik Nilebäck

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Biological Physics

Laurent Feuz

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Biological Physics

H. Uddenberg


R. Valiokas

Center for Physical Sciences & Technology

Sofia Svedhem

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Biological Physics

Biosensors and Bioelectronics

0956-5663 (ISSN) 18734235 (eISSN)

Vol. 28 1 407-413

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Materials Science

Subject Categories




More information