In vivo detection of SERS-encoded plasmonic nanostars in human skin grafts and live animal models
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- Register, J.K., Fales, A.M., Wang, HN. et al. Anal Bioanal Chem (2015) 407: 8215. doi:10.1007/s00216-015-8939-0
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Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-active plasmonic nanomaterials have become a promising agent for molecular imaging and multiplex detection. Among the wide variety of plasmonics-active nanoparticles, gold nanostars offer unique plasmon properties that efficiently induce strong SERS signals. Furthermore, nanostars, with their small core size and multiple long thin branches, exhibit high absorption cross sections that are tunable in the near-infrared region of the tissue optical window, rendering them efficient for in vivo spectroscopic detection. This study investigated the use of SERS-encoded gold nanostars for in vivo detection. Ex vivo measurements were performed using human skin grafts to investigate the detection of SERS-encoded nanostars through tissue. We also integrated gold nanostars into a biocompatible scaffold to aid in performing in vivo spectroscopic analyses. In this study, for the first time, we demonstrate in vivo SERS detection of gold nanostars using small animal (rat) as well as large animal (pig) models. The results of this study establish the usefulness and potential of SERS-encoded gold nanostars for future use in long-term in vivo analyte sensing.