Abstract Tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) thin films are a promising material for use as biocompatible interfaces in applications such as in-vivo biosensors. However, the functionalization of ta-C film surface, which is a pre-requisite for biosensors, remains a big challenge due to its chemical inertness. We have investigated the bio-functionalization of ta-C films fabricated under specific physical conditions through the covalent attachment of functional biomolecular probes of peptide nucleic acid (PNA) to ta-C films, and the effect of fabrication conditions on the bio-functionalization. The study showed that the functional bimolecular probes such as protected long-chain ω-unsaturated amine (TFAAD) can be covalently attached to the ta-C surface through a well-defined structure. With the given fabrication process, electrochemical methods can be applied to the detection of biomolecular interaction, which establishes the basis for the development of stable, label-free biosensors.