Metal nanoparticles (NPs) hold great promise as tools for the development of new biodetection techniques. A large number of synthetic procedures allow us to modify their size and shape, spanning from spheres, shells, and rods, to cubes, stars, and plates, and several new methods continue to appear. Moreover, it is possible to functionalize the surface of the NPs via simple place exchange reactions, making it easy to obtain systems with the most different functional groups, each targeting a specific application. In addition to this, specific optical and electronic properties, such as plasmon absorption and quantized electronic levels, render metal NPs the ideal tool for cell targeting, imaging, drug delivery and biodetection.
In this talk, I will focus on the development of metal NPs for biodetection, with special emphasis on surface enhanced techniques, such as surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), a technique that takes advantage of the electromagnetic field enhancement induced by the coherent oscillation of the surface electrons upon interaction with a laser light. First of all, I will introduce some basic concepts relating metal NPs, followed by synthetic procedures and sorting methods and the introduction to preparative techniques specifically tailored for SERS applications. I will conclude with some results from my previous work, focused on the detection of ssDNA and proteins with high sensitivity and selectivity.
Dr. Laura Fabris earned her Doctorate degree in Chemical Sciences in 2006 from the University of Padova (Italy), working on the synthesis and characterization of peptide protected gold nanoclusters smaller than 2 nm. She then joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she has been a postdoctoral scholar from 2006 to 2009, working on the development of biosensors, prior to joining as an Assistant Professor the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers University in July 2009.