Langmuir, Vol.27, No.6, 3180-3187, 2011
Polydiacetylene Incorporated with Peptide Receptors for the Detection of Trinitrotoluene Explosives
Because of their unique optical and stimuli-response properties, polydiacetylene-based platforms have been explored as an alternative to complex mechanical and electrical sensing systems. We linked chromic responsive polydiacetylene (PDA) onto a peptide-based molecular recognition element for trinitrotoluene (TNT) molecules in order to provide a system capable of responding to the presence of a TNT target. We first identified the trimer peptide receptor that could induce chromic changes on a PDA backbone. We then investigated the multivalent interactions between TNT and our peptide-based receptor by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. We further characterized Various parameters that affected the conjugated PDA system and hence the chromic response, including the size of end-group motifs, the surface density of receptors, and the length of alkane side chains. Taking these necessary design parameters into account, we demonstrated a modular system capable of transducing small-molecule TNT binding into a detectable signal. Our conjugated based sensor coupled with molecular recognition elements has already proven useful recently in the development, of another sensitive and selective electronic sensor, though we expect that our results will also be valuable in the design of colorimetric sensors for small-molecule detection.