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ACS Nano. 2009 Nov 24;3(11):3529-36. doi: 10.1021/nn9010768.

In situ intracellular spectroscopy with surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-enabled nanopipettes.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


We report on a new analytical approach to intracellular chemical sensing that utilizes a surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-enabled nanopipette. The probe is comprised of a glass capillary with a 100-500 nm tip coated with gold nanoparticles. The fixed geometry of the gold nanoparticles allows us to overcome the limitations of the traditional approach for intracellular SERS using metal colloids. We demonstrate that the SERS-enabled nanopipettes can be used for in situ analysis of living cell function in real time. In addition, SERS functionality of these probes allows tracking of their localization in a cell. The developed probes can also be applied for highly sensitive chemical analysis of nanoliter volumes of chemicals in a variety of environmental and analytical applications.

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