Aptamer-based cocaine assay using a nanohybrid composed of ZnS/Ag2Se quantum dots, graphene oxide and gold nanoparticles as a fluorescent probe

Oluwasesan Adegoke (Lead / Corresponding author), Magda A. Pereira-Barros, Svetlana Zolotovskaya, Amin Abdolvand, Niamh Nic Daeid

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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Authors report on a new fluoro-graphene-plasmonic nanohybrid aptamer-based fluorescent nanoprobe for cocaine. To construct the nanoprobe, newly synthesized glutathione-capped ZnS/Ag 2Se quantum dots (QDs) were first conjugated to graphene oxide (GO) to form a QD-GO nanocomposite. The binding interaction resulted in a fluorescence turn-ON. Thereafter, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)-gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were directly adsorbed on the QD-GO nanocomposite to form a novel QD-GO-CTAB-AuNP nanohybrid assembly that resulted in a fluorescence turn-OFF. Streptavidin (strep) was then adsorbed on the QDs-GO-CTAB-AuNP nanohybrid assembly which allowed binding to a biotinylated MNS 4.1 anticocaine DNA aptamer (B) receptor. The addition of cocaine into the strep-B-QDs-GO-CTAB-AuNP aptamer nanoprobe system aided affinity to the aptamer receptor and in turn turned on the fluorescence of the nanoprobe in a concentration-dependent manner. Under optimum experimental conditions, we found the strep-B-QD-GO-CTAB-AuNP to be far superior in its sensitivity to cocaine than the tested strep-B-QDs (no GO and CTAB-AuNPs), strep-B-QD-CTAB-AuNP (no GO) and strep-B-QD-GO (no CTAB-AuNP). In addition, the investigation of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) amplified signal from tested plasmonic NPs shows that CTAB-AuNPs was far superior in amplifying the fluorescence signal of the nanoprobe. A detection limit of 4.6 nM (1.56 ng.mL −1), rapid response time (~2 min) and excellent selectivity against other drugs, substances and cocaine metabolites was achieved. The strep-B-QD-GO-CTAB-AuNP aptamer-based fluorescent nanoprobe was successfully applied for the determination of cocaine in seized adulterated cocaine samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
Number of pages12
JournalMicrochimica Acta
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Fluorescence
  • Gold nanoparticle
  • Graphene oxide
  • Nanohybrid
  • Quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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