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SERRS-active nanoparticle-polymer beads for ultra-sensitive biodiagnostic applications

Stokes, Robert J. and Hernandez-Santana, A. and Macaskill, A. and Cormack, P.A.G. and Smith, W.E. and Graham, D. (2006) SERRS-active nanoparticle-polymer beads for ultra-sensitive biodiagnostic applications. Micro and Nano Letters, 1 (1). pp. 57-61. ISSN 1750-0443

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A new approach to the synthesis of polymer beads that give surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) is reported. Controlling the aggregation of silver nanoparticles by silica seeding prior to encapsulation into a polymer is shown to yield a highly reproducible bead with a relative standard deviation (RSD) diameter down to 5%. The reliable and intense SERRS response is attributed to the combined resonance of the reporter dye (435 nm) and the nanoparticle cluster (440 nm). The presence of heavier clustered particles within the bead core means the activity can be further improved to around 93% by means of sedimentation purification. This is a significant step towards a reproducible and reliable reporter unit for the many varied potential biodiagnostic applications of SERRS.