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Paper published in Analytical Chemistry

Multicolor Gold–Silver Nano-Mushrooms as Ready-to-Use SERS Probes for Ultrasensitive and Multiplex DNA/miRNA Detection

Jing Su, Dongfang Wang, Lena Nörbel, Jianlei Shen, Zhihan Zhao, Yanzhi Dou, Tianhuan Peng, Jiye Shi, Sanjay Mathur, Chunhai Fan, and Shiping Song


Uniform silver-containing metal nanostructures with strong and stable surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) signals hold great promise for developing ultrasensitive probes for biodetection. Nevertheless, the direct synthesis of such ready-to-use nanoprobes remains extremely challenging. Herein we report a DNA-mediated gold-silver nanomushroom with interior nanogaps directly synthesized and used for multiplex and simultaneous SERS detection of various DNA and RNA targets. The DNA involved in the nanostructures can act as not only gap DNA (mediated DNA) but also probe DNA (hybridized DNA), and DNA's involvement enables the nanostructures to have the inherent ability to recognize DNA and RNA targets. Importantly, we were the first to establish a new method for the generation of multicolor SERS probes using two different strategies. First Raman-labeled alkanethiol probe DNA was assembled on gold nanoparticles, and second, thiol-containing Raman reporters were coassembled with the probe DNA. The ready-to-use probes also give great potential to develop ultrasensitive detection methods for various biological molecules.