Research continues in an effort to develop a versatile platform for clinical diagnosis with easy operation and low cost. In the present study, a biosensor chip has been designed and fabricated for surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)- fluorescence dual mode immunoassay. Here, a dual channel microfluidic chip was employed for simultaneous SERS and fluorescence detection. Unlike previously reported microfluidic immunoassays using fluorescence or SERS method independently, the proposed dual mode biosensor combined the advantages of these two optical detection techniques. The fluorescence mode can be used for fast screening of biomolecules while the SERS mode can be employed for accurate and sensitive quantitative analysis. In addition, the chip-based microfluidic platform greatly reduced the reagents cost and complicated operation. The whole detection process from sample preparation to optical detection can be finished in 90 min. Moreover, the reversibly bonded biosensor chip could be reused after cleaning, which further reduced the cost for each assay. All these merits make it a potential powerful tool for practical clinical diagnosis.
A sensitive SERS (surface-enhanced Raman scattering)-based immunoassay in microfluidic system has been developed with <i>in-situ </i>synthesis of gold substrate and immune reporter named as 4MBA (4-Mercaptobenzoic acid)-labeled immuno-Ag aggregates. The gold substrate was fabricated simply by introducing the hydrogen tetrachloroaurate (III) trihydrate (HAuCl<sub>4</sub>) solution to microchannels using a microfluidic pump. It was found that the obtained deposited gold nanoparticles were uniform in size and shape. Then the sandwich immunoassays were performed using the gold substrates based on SERS signals. In the immunoassay, the gold nanoparticles decorated surface was modified with certain antibodies to recognize the specific kind of antigen, which was flowed through the microfluidic channel afterwards. Then 4MBA-labeled immuno-Ag aggregates were employed as the SERS probes to quantitatively detect the antigen. The experimental results showed a good specificity and limit of detection (LOD) about 1 ng/mL.
Due to their unique properties, liposomes have been widely used as drug nanocarriers. Herein a liposome-Au nanohybrid has been demonstrated as a SERS active intracellular drug nanocarrier. In this study, cationic Raman reporter tagged gold nanoparticles (Au@4MBA@PAH) were anchored onto the surfaces of anionic liposomes via electrostatic interactions. Using SKBR3 cells as model cells, we revealed that the hybrid formulation can be effectively taken up by tumor cells and tracked by the SERS signals. Collectively, the liposome-Au nanohybrids hold great promise in biomedical applications.