A method for detecting analytes involves measuring the fluorescence of a sample of fluorescence-attenuated carbon nanotubes, then exposing the sample to a target analyte, and then measuring the fluorescence again. The fluorescence-attenuated nanotubes include a chemical having quenching portion that interacts with the nanotubes and attenuates the fluorescence, a receptor portion that binds to a target analyte and a tether portion that connects the receptor portion to the quenching portion. If the target analyte binds to the receptor portion of the chemical, the interaction between the chemical and the nanotubes and the chemical is weakened and the original fluorescence of the carbon nanotubes is restored.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.