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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2014 Oct;406(25):6337-46. doi: 10.1007/s00216-014-8064-5. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

A wide range optical pH sensor for living cells using Au@Ag nanoparticles functionalized carbon nanotubes based on SERS signals.

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Advanced Photonics Center, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210096, Jiangsu, China.


p-Aminothiophenol (pATP) functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have been demonstrated as an efficient pH sensor for living cells. The proposed sensor employs gold/silver core-shell nanoparticles (Au@Ag NPs) functionalized MWCNTs hybrid structure as the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate and pATP molecules as the SERS reporters, which possess a pH-dependent SERS performance. By using MWCNTs as the substrate to be in a state of aggregation, the pH sensing range could be extended to pH 3.0∼14.0, which is much wider than that using unaggregated Au@Ag NPs without MWCNTs. Furthermore, the pH-sensitive performance was well retained in living cells with a low cytotoxicity. The developed SERS-active MWCNTs-based nanocomposite is expected to be an efficient intracellular pH sensor for bio-applications.

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