Plasmonic gold nanostar for biomedical sensing
Cancer has become one of most significant death reasons and causes approximately 7.9 million human deaths worldwide each year. The challenge to detect cancer at an early stage makes cancer-related biomarkers sensing attract more and more research interest and efforts. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) provides a promising method for various biomarkers (DNA, RNA, protein, et al.) detection due to its high sensitivity, specificity and capability for multiple analytes detection. Raman spectroscopy is a non-destructive photon-scattering technique, which provides molecule-specific information on molecular vibrational energy levels. SERS takes advantage of plasmonic effects and can enhance Raman signal up to 1015 at "hot spots". Due to its excellent sensitivity, SERS has been capable of achieving single-molecule detection limit. Local pH environment has been identified to be a potential biomarker for cancer diagnosis since solid cancer contains highly acidic environments. A near-infrared (NIR) SERS nanoprobe based on gold nanostars for pH sensing is developed for future cancer detection. Near-infrared (NIR) light is more suitable for in vivo applications because of its low attenuation rate and tissue auto fluorescence. SERS spectrum of pH reporter under various pH environments is monitored and used for pH sensing. Furthermore, density functional theory (DFT) calculation is performed to investigate Raman spectra changes with pH at the molecular level. The study demonstrates that SERS is a sensitive tool to monitor minor molecular structural changes due to local pH environment for cancer detection. © 2014 SPIE.
Liu, Y; Yuan, H; Fales, AM; Vo-Dinh, T
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