Thermochemiluminescence (TCL) of organic compounds or biological substances is an interesting phenomenon and has been applied to polymer analysis and medical diagnostics. We improve traditional TCL assays using the assistance of catalytic nanomaterials and construct a nanomaterials array for the discrimination of three subtypes of proteins (albumin from human serum, bovine serum and porcine serum). With the assistance of catalytic nanomaterials, TCL signals of different protein samples are distinct due to the diverse catalytic activities of the nanomaterials and characteristics of proteins. Using this array-based technology, we obtained unique TCL patterns as 'fingerprints', and then accurately classified these 3 subtypes of serum albumins and the denatured albumins under different heat conditions. In the blind test, 24 unknown samples randomly chosen from these albumins were all assigned to the accurate groups. Moreover, on several nanomaterials, the intensity of TCL could be greatly amplified. For example, on MgO and BaO, albumins in aqueous solutions at 2 μg mL(-1) (~30 nM) offered robust responses. This improved TCL assay with reversible response and simple instrumentation can offer high differentiability and sensitivity.
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