Review of Some Interesting Surface Plasmon Resonance-enhanced Properties of Noble Metal Nanoparticles and Their Applications to Biosystems
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Noble metal, especially gold (Au) and silver (Ag) nanoparticles exhibit unique and tunable optical properties on account of their surface plasmon resonance (SPR). In this review, we discuss the SPR-enhanced optical properties of noble metal nanoparticles, with an emphasis on the recent advances in the utility of these plasmonic properties in molecular-specific imaging and sensing, photo-diagnostics, and selective photothermal therapy. The strongly enhanced SPR scattering from Au nanoparticles makes them useful as bright optical tags for molecular-specific biological imaging and detection using simple dark-field optical microscopy. On the other hand, the SPR absorption of the nanoparticles has allowed their use in the selective laser photothermal therapy of cancer. We also discuss the sensitivity of the nanoparticle SPR frequency to the local medium dielectric constant, which has been successfully exploited for the optical sensing of chemical and biological analytes. Plasmon coupling between metal nanoparticle pairs is also discussed, which forms the basis for nanoparticle assembly-based biodiagnostics and the plasmon ruler for dynamic measurement of nanoscale distances in biological systems.