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J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces. 2014 Feb 20;118(7):3708-3715. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Development of Hybrid Silver-Coated Gold Nanostars for Nonaggregated Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering.

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Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Department of Chemistry, Duke University , Durham, North Carolina 27708, United States.


In the ongoing search for ever-brighter surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanoprobes, gold nanostars (AuNSs) have emerged as one of the best geometries for producing SERS in a nonaggregated state. Despite their high enhancement factor, optical extinction from plasmon-matched nanoparticles can greatly attenuate the overall SERS intensity. Herein, we report the development of a new hybrid bimetallic NS-based platform that exhibits superior resonant SERS (SERRS) properties. In this new nanoplatform, coating AuNSs with a subtotal layer of silver (AuNS@Ag) can further increase their SERRS brightness by an order of magnitude when being interrogated by an off-resonant excitation source. Silica-encapsulated AuNS@Ag nanoprobes were injected intradermally into a rat pelt, where SERRS was readily detected with higher signal-to-noise than nanoprobes prepared from AuNS. Moreover, these off-resonance AuNS@Ag nanoprobes did not cause any gross photothermal damage to tissue, which was observed with the plasmon-matched AuNSs. This novel SERRS-active hybrid nanoprobe exhibits high SERRS brightness and offers promising properties for future applications in sensing and molecular imaging.

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