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3 May 2013 Surface-enhanced Raman imaging of red blood cell membrane with highly uniform active substrates obtained using block copolymers self-assembly
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In this communication, we discuss the application of ordered, ultrahigh-density templates of nano-textured Ag-particles obtained by self-assembling of inorganic-containing polystyrene-block-poly(4-vinylpyridine) copolymer (PS-b-P4VP) micelles, for the spectroscopic surface-enhanced Raman imaging in-vitro of red blood cells (RBCs) and its capability to identify the vibrational fingerprint of the plasma membrane of the cell physisorbed to the SERS substrate. Hexagonal arrays of PS-b-P4VP micelles, with selective inclusion of Ag nanoparticles (NPs) in the polar core, prepared by in situ reduction of a suitable precursor, are obtained by polymer self-assembly upon fast solvent evaporation during spin coating on the supporting substrate. UV irradiation and/or plasma oxygen treatment remove the polymer matrix leaving immobilized nano-islands of Ag-NPs. Such a kind of SERS-active substrate consists of a reproducible and uniform twodimensional hexagonal array of silver clusters with a diameter ranging from 25 to 30 nm (single particles having typically diameters of 5 nm) and nano-island gap distances of the order of 5-8 nm on silicon and 15 nm on glass , while giving rise to high enhancement factors and addressing the issue of SERS reproducibility. The basic substrate supporting the plasmonic coating used in this work is either of silicon or glass. This last allows working in back scattering configuration permitting real time monitoring, via microscopy, of the RBCs on which Raman measurements are being carried out. The template is thus applied for surface-enhanced Raman analysis of the red blood cell (RBC) membrane in confocal micro-Raman configuration demonstrating to have SERS imaging potential thanks to the uniformity of the nano-textured substrate. The first experimental evidence of SERS imaging of a red blood cell membrane in-vitro is demonstrated.
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Gianluigi Zito, Anna Malafronte, Alden Dochshanov, Giulia Rusciano, Finizia Auriemma, Giuseppe Pesce, Claudio De Rosa, and Antonio Sasso "Surface-enhanced Raman imaging of red blood cell membrane with highly uniform active substrates obtained using block copolymers self-assembly", Proc. SPIE 8774, Optical Sensors 2013, 87740B (3 May 2013);

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