Near-infrared SERS nanoprobes with plasmonic Au/Ag hollow-shell assemblies for in vivo multiplex detection

Homan Kang, Sinyoung Jeong, Younggeun Park, Joonhyuk Yim, Bong Hyun Jun, San Kyeong, Jin Kyoung Yang, Gunsung Kim, Soongweon Hong, Luke P. Lee, Jong Ho Kim, Ho Young Lee, Dae Hong Jeong, Yoon Sik Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


For the effective application of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanoprobes for in vivo targeting, the tissue transparency of the probe signals should be as high as it can be in order to increase detection sensitivity and signal reproducibility. Here, near-infrared (NIR)-sensitive SERS nanoprobes (NIR SERS dots) are demonstrated for in vivo multiplex detection. The NIR SERS dots consist of plasmonic Au/Ag hollow-shell (HS) assemblies on the surface of silica nanospheres and simple aromatic Raman labels. The diameter of the HS interior is adjusted from 3 to 11 nm by varying the amount of Au3+ added, which results in a red-shift of the plasmonic extinction of the Au/Ag nanoparticles toward the NIR (700-900 nm). The red-shifted plasmonic extinction of NIR SERS dots causes enhanced SERS signals in the NIR optical window where endogenous tissue absorption coefficients are more than two orders of magnitude lower than those for ultraviolet and visible light. The signals from NIR SERS dots are detectable from 8-mm deep in animal tissues. Three kinds of NIR SERS dots, which are injected into live animal tissues, produce strong SERS signals from deep tissues without spectral overlap, demonstrating their potential for in vivo multiplex detection of specific target molecules. Near-infrared-sensitive surface-enhanced Raman scattering nanoprobes (NIR SERS dots) are fabricated by forming plasmonic Au/Ag hollow-shells, which assemble on silica nanospheres. A single NIR SERS dot is capable of generating a strong SERS signal (average SERS enhancement factor value 2.8 × 105) with high reproducibility. In addition, the signals from NIR SERS dots are effectively detected from deep tissues of up to 8 mm depth and have exhibited a capability for in vivo multiplex detection in a live animal study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3719-3727
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number30
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2013


  • Au/Ag hollow-shell assembly
  • SERS nanoprobes
  • multiplex detection
  • near-infrared detection


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