The optimization of mesoporous silica thin films by nanotexturing using oxygen plasma versus thermal oxidation was investigated. Calcination in oxygen plasma provides superior control over pore formation with regard to the pore surface and higher fidelity to the structure of the polymer template. The resulting porous film offers an ideal substrate for the selective partitioning of peptides from complex mixtures. The improved chemico-physical characteristics of porous thin films (pore size distribution, nanostructure, surface properties and pore connectivity) were systematically characterized with XRD, Ellipsometry, FTIR, TEM and N2 adsorption/desorption isotherm. The enrichment of low molecular weight proteins captured from human serum on mesoporous silica thin films fabricated by both methodologies was investigated by comparison of their MALDI-TOF MS profiles. This novel on-chip fractionation technology offers advantages in recovering the low molecular weight peptides from human serum, which has been recognized as an informative resource for early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.
- low molecular weight proteome
- mesoporous silica thin film
- oxygen plasma
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