Towards quantitative point of care detection using SERS lateral flow immunoassays

Sloan-Dennison, Sian and O'Connor, Emma and Dear, James W. and Graham, Duncan and Faulds, Karen (2022) Towards quantitative point of care detection using SERS lateral flow immunoassays. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 414 (16). pp. 4541-4549. ISSN 1618-2642 (

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The rapid detection of biomolecules in a point of care (POC) setting is very important for diagnostic purposes. A platform which can provide this, whilst still being low cost and simple to use, is paper-based lateral flow immunoassays (LFIA). LFIA combine immunology and chromatography to detect a target by forming an immunocomplex with a label which traps them in a test zone. Qualitative analysis can be performed using the naked eye whilst quantitative analysis takes place by measuring the optical signal provided by the label at the test zone. There are numerous detection methods available; however, many suffer from low sensitivity and lack of multiplexing capabilities or are poor at providing POC quantitative analysis. An attractive method to overcome this is to use nanoparticles coated in Raman reporters as the labelled species and to analyse test zones using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Due to the wide variety of metal nanoparticles, Raman reporter and laser excitations that are available, SERS-based LFIA have been adapted to identify and quantify multiple targets at once. Large Raman microscopes combined with long mapping times have limited the platform to the lab; however, by transferring the analysis to portable Raman instruments, rapid and quantitative measurements can be taken at the POC without any loss in sensitivity. Portable or handheld SERS-LFIA platforms can therefore be used anywhere, from modern clinics to remote and resource-poor settings. This review will present an overview of SERS-based LFIA platforms and the major recent advancements in multiplexing and portable and handheld detection with an outlook on the future of the platform. Graphical abstract.


Sloan-Dennison, Sian ORCID logoORCID:, O'Connor, Emma, Dear, James W., Graham, Duncan ORCID logoORCID: and Faulds, Karen ORCID logoORCID:;