Bioengineered Silicon Diatoms: Adding Photonic Features to a Nanostructured Semiconductive Material for Biomolecular Sensing

Ilaria Rea, Monica Terracciano, Soundarrajan Chandrasekaran, Nicolas H. Voelcker, Principia Dardano, Nicola M. Martucci, Annalisa Lamberti, Luca De Stefano

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Native diatoms made of amorphous silica are first converted into silicon structures via magnesiothermic process, preserving the original shape: electron force microscopy analysis performed on silicon-converted diatoms demonstrates their semiconductor behavior. Wet surface chemical treatments are then performed in order to enhance the photoluminescence emission from the resulting silicon diatoms and, at the same time, to allow the immobilization of biological probes, namely proteins and antibodies, via silanization. We demonstrate that light emission from semiconductive silicon diatoms can be used for antibody-antigen recognition, endorsing this material as optoelectronic transducer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number405
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalNanoscale Research Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosensing
  • Diatoms
  • Photoluminescence
  • Silicon

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