DNA-embedded Au-Ag core-shell nanoparticles assembled on silicon slides as a reliable SERS substrate

Zhong Zhang, Sha Zhang, Mengshi Lin
Analyst 2014 May 7, 139 (9): 2207-13
This study aimed at developing a sensitive and reliable SERS substrate by assembling DNA-embedded Au-Ag core-shell nanoparticles (NPs) on silicon slides. First, a monolayer of well separated DNA-functionalized Au NPs (40 nm) was decorated on (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane modified silicon slides. The DNA-embedded Au-Ag core-shell NPs were assembled on the 40 nm Au-DNA NPs to form a core-satellite structure through DNA hybridization. Using 4-MBA as a Raman dye, the SERS performance of the substrates was evaluated after being cleaned by low oxygen and argon plasma. The Raman intensity of the assembly using DNA-embedded Au-Ag core-shell NPs was 8-10 times higher than the intensity of the assembly using Au NPs as satellites. In addition, the signal-to-noise ratio of the assembly was 2.6 times higher than that of a commercial substrate (Klarite™) when a 785 nm laser was used. The SERS enhancements of the assembled substrates were 2.2 to 2.8 times higher than the Klarite when an acquisition time of 5 s was used at an excitation wavelength of 633 nm. The assembled substrates also show a good spot-to-spot and substrate-to-substrate reproducibility at the excitation wavelengths of 633 and 785 nm. These results demonstrate that the fabrication process is simple and cost-effective for assembling DNA-embedded Au-Ag core-shell NPs on silicon slides that can be used as a reliable SERS substrate.

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