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Langmuir. 2013 May 21;29(20):6147-55. doi: 10.1021/la4006828. Epub 2013 May 9.

Highly sensitive detection of target ssDNA based on SERS liquid chip using suspended magnetic nanospheres as capturing substrates.

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State Key Laboratory of Molecular Engineering of Polymers, Department of Macromolecular Science, Laboratory of Advanced Materials, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China.


A new approach for sensitive detection of a specific ssDNA (single-stranded DNA) sequence based on the surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) liquid chip is demonstrated. In this method, the probe DNA (targeting to one part of target ssDNA) was attached to the nano-SERS-tags (poly(styrene-co-acrylic acid)/(silver nanoparticles)/silica composite nanospheres), and the capture DNA (targeting to the other part of target ssDNA) was attached to the Fe3O4/poly(acrylic acid) core/shell nanospheres. The nano-SERS-tags with probe DNA were first allowed to undergo hybridization with the target ssDNA in solution to achieve the best efficiency. Subsequently, the magnetic composite nanospheres with capture DNA were added as the capturing substrates of the target ssDNA combined with the nano-SERS-tags. Upon attraction with an external magnet, the nanospheres (including the nano-SERS-tags) were deposited together due to the hybridization, and the deposit sediment was then analyzed by SERS. Quantitative detection of target ssDNA was achieved based on the well-defined linear correlation between the SERS signal intensity and the target ssDNA quantity in the range of 10 nM to 10 pM, and the limit of detection was approximately 10 pM. Multiplexed detection of up to three different ssDNA targets in one sample was demonstrated using three different types of nano-SERS-tags under a single excitation laser. The experimental results indicated that the liquid-phase DNA sequencing method, thus named the SERS liquid chip (SLC) method, holds significant promises for specific detection of trace targets of organisms.

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