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Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy for Bioanalysis: Reliability and Challenges

  • Cheng Zong
    Cheng Zong
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    More by Cheng Zong
  • Mengxi Xu
    Mengxi Xu
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    More by Mengxi Xu
  • Li-Jia Xu
    Li-Jia Xu
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    More by Li-Jia Xu
  • Ting Wei
    Ting Wei
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    More by Ting Wei
  • Xin Ma
    Xin Ma
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    More by Xin Ma
  • Xiao-Shan Zheng
    Xiao-Shan Zheng
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
  • Ren Hu
    Ren Hu
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    More by Ren Hu
  • , and 
  • Bin Ren*
    Bin Ren
    State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis and Instrumentation, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    *E-mail: [email protected]
    More by Bin Ren
Cite this: Chem. Rev. 2018, 118, 10, 4946–4980
Publication Date (Web):April 11, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) inherits the rich chemical fingerprint information on Raman spectroscopy and gains sensitivity by plasmon-enhanced excitation and scattering. In particular, most Raman peaks have a narrow width suitable for multiplex analysis, and the measurements can be conveniently made under ambient and aqueous conditions. These merits make SERS a very promising technique for studying complex biological systems, and SERS has attracted increasing interest in biorelated analysis. However, there are still great challenges that need to be addressed until it can be widely accepted by the biorelated communities, answer interesting biological questions, and solve fatal clinical problems. SERS applications in bioanalysis involve the complex interactions of plasmonic nanomaterials with biological systems and their environments. The reliability becomes the key issue of bioanalytical SERS in order to extract meaningful information from SERS data. This review provides a comprehensive overview of bioanalytical SERS with the main focus on the reliability issue. We first introduce the mechanism of SERS to guide the design of reliable SERS experiments with high detection sensitivity. We then introduce the current understanding of the interaction of nanomaterials with biological systems, mainly living cells, to guide the design of functionalized SERS nanoparticles for target detection. We further introduce the current status of label-free (direct) and labeled (indirect) SERS detections, for systems from biomolecules, to pathogens, to living cells, and we discuss the potential interferences from experimental design, measurement conditions, and data analysis. In the end, we give an outlook of the key challenges in bioanalytical SERS, including reproducibility, sensitivity, and spatial and time resolution.

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