Here, we report a method capable of quantitative detection of low-abundance DNA/RNA molecules by incorporating confocal fluorescence spectroscopy, molecular beacons, and a molecular-confinement microfluidic reactor. By using a combination of ac and dc fields via a trio of 3-D electrodes in the microreactor, we are able to precisely direct the transport of individual molecules to a minuscule laser-focused detection volume (∼1 fL). A burst of fluorescence photons is detected whenever a molecular beacon-target hybrid flows through the detection region, and the amount of targets can be directly quantified according to the number of recorded single-molecule flow-through events. This assay consumes only attomoles of molecular probes and is able to quantitatively detect subpicomolar DNA targets. A measurement time of less than 2 min is sufficient to complete the detection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry