Journal article

Gold Nanostar-Coated Polystyrene Beads as Multifunctional Nanoprobes for SERS Bioimaging

Hybrid colloidal nanocomposites comprising polystyrene beads and plasmonic gold nanostars are reported as multifunctional optical nanoprobes. Such self-assembled structures are excellent Raman enhancers for bioapplications as they feature plasmon modes in the near-infrared "first biological transparency window". In this proof of concept study, we used 4-mercaptobenzoic acid as a Raman-active molecule to optimize the density of gold nanostars on polystyrene beads, improving SERS performance and thereby allowing in vitro cell culture imaging. Interestingly, intermediate gold nanostar loadings were found to yield higher SERS response, which was confirmed by electromagnetic modeling. These engineered hybrid nanostructures notably improve the possibilities of using gold nanostars as SERS tags. Additionally, when fluorescently labeled polystyrene beads are used as colloidal carriers, the composite particles can be applied as promising tools for multimodal bioimaging.

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