Photoelectrochemical synthesis of DNA microarrays.
Optical addressing of semiconductor electrodes represents a powerful technology that enables the independent and parallel control of a very large number of electrical phenomena at the solid-electrolyte interface. To date, it has been used in a wide range of applications including electrophoretic manipulation, biomolecule sensing, and stimulating networks of neurons. Here, we have adapted this approach for the parallel addressing of redox reactions, and report the construction of a DNA microarray synthesis platform based on semiconductor photoelectrochemistry (PEC). An amorphous silicon photoconductor is activated by an optical projection system to create virtual electrodes capable of electrochemically generating protons; these PEC-generated protons then cleave the acid-labile dimethoxytrityl protecting groups of DNA phosphoramidite synthesis reagents with the requisite spatial selectivity to generate DNA microarrays. Furthermore, a thin-film porous glass dramatically increases the amount of DNA synthesized per chip by over an order of magnitude versus uncoated glass. This platform demonstrates that PEC can be used toward combinatorial bio-polymer and small molecule synthesis.