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J Mater Chem. 2011 Apr 14;21(14):5190-5202.

Bio-imaging, detection and analysis by using nanostructures as SERS substrates.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center, University of Oklahoma, 101 Stephenson Parkway, Norman, OK, 73019, USA.


Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a phenomenon that occurs on nanoscale-roughed metallic surface. The magnitude of the Raman scattering signal can be greatly enhanced when the scatterer is placed in the very close vicinity of the surface, which enables this phenomenon to be a highly sensitive analytical technique. SERS inherits the general strongpoint of conventional Raman spectroscopy and overcomes the inherently small cross section problem of a Raman scattering. It is a sensitive and nondestructive spectroscopic method for biological samples, and can be exploited either for the delivery of molecular structural information or for the detection of trace levels of analytes. Therefore, SERS has long been regarded as a powerful tool in biomedical research. Metallic nanostructure plays a key role in all the biomedical applications of SERS because the enhanced Raman signal can only be obtained on the surface of a finely divided substrate. This review focuses on progress made in the use of SERS as an analytical technique in bio-imaging, analysis and detection. Recent progress in the fabrication of SERS active nanostructures is also highlighted.

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