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Gold nanorods coated by molecularly imprinted polymer for sensitive and specific SERS detection of dyes

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Although surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is an advanced analysis technique, the challenge of low specificity in real sample analysis remains. In this study, we synthesized a hybrid structure based on gold nanorods (AuNRs) coated with a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) as a SERS substrate. While the AuNRs strongly enhance the Raman signal of the analyte, the MIP layer allows specific trapping of analyte molecules close to the gold surface. A very thin film of polydopamine with exclusive cavities of rhodamine B enabled ultrasensitive detection of rhodamine B with a 120-fold increase compared to non-imprinted sample. The selectivity of our AuNR@MIP substrate for the detection of rhodamine B in a mixture of different dyes was also clearly improved. Fortunately, the AuNR@MIP substrate exhibited attractive accuracy and sensitivity toward rhodamine B in spiked orange juice samples. This report demonstrates a promising hybrid structure to improve SERS-based sensing of real samples.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Duc (University of Science and Technology of Hanoi) for elemental mapping analysis.


This research is funded by the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam under grant number B2021-BKA-17.

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Mai Tuyet Thi Nguyen: designed the experiments, funding acquisition, writing — review and editing. Lan Thi Dang: investigation, data curation. Hai Van Pham: methodology, formal analysis.

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Correspondence to Mai Tuyet Thi Nguyen.

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Nguyen, M.T.T., Dang, L.T. & Van Pham, H. Gold nanorods coated by molecularly imprinted polymer for sensitive and specific SERS detection of dyes. Colloid Polym Sci 301, 577–586 (2023).

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