Homogeneous DNA assays using gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) require the reduction of nonspecific binding between AuNPs to improve sensitivity in detecting the target molecule. In this study, we employed alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) for modifying the AuNP surface to attain both good dispersability and high hybridization efficiency. The alkanethiol SAMs enhance the repulsive interaction between AuNPs, reducing nonspecific binding and promoting the extension of surface-immobilized ssDNA into the solvent, thus enhancing the hybridization process. Introduction of oligoethylene glycol into the alkanethiol prevented nonspecific binding caused by the entanglement of alkane chains. Finally, the conditions were optimized by controlling the surface charge density through the introduction of a COOH group at the alkanethiol terminus, resulting in the complete blocking of nonspecific binding and the maintenance of high hybridization efficiency.
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