Article abstract

Nature Materials 9, 60 - 67 (2010)
Published online: 13 December 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmat2596

Subject Categories: Biomedical materials | Optical, photonic and optoelectronic materials

Nanogap-engineerable Raman-active nanodumbbells for single-molecule detection

Dong-Kwon Lim1,3, Ki-Seok Jeon2,3, Hyung Min Kim2, Jwa-Min Nam1 & Yung Doug Suh2

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-based signal amplification and detection methods using plasmonic nanostructures have been widely investigated for imaging and sensing applications. However, SERS-based molecule detection strategies have not been practically useful because there is no straightforward method to synthesize and characterize highly sensitive SERS-active nanostructures with sufficiently high yield and efficiency, which results in an extremely low cross-section area in Raman sensing. Here, we report a high-yield synthetic method for SERS-active gold–silver core–shell nanodumbbells, where the gap between two nanoparticles and the Raman-dye position and environment can be engineered on the nanoscale. Atomic-force-microscope-correlated nano-Raman measurements of individual dumbbell structures demonstrate that Raman signals can be repeatedly detected from single-DNA-tethered nanodumbbells. These programmed nanostructure fabrication and single-DNA detection strategies open avenues for the high-yield synthesis of optically active smart nanoparticles and structurally reproducible nanostructure-based single-molecule detection and bioassays.

  1. Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul, 151-747, South Korea
  2. Laboratory for Advanced Molecular Probing (LAMP), NanoBio Fusion Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, DaeJeon, 305-600, South Korea
  3. These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to: Jwa-Min Nam1 e-mail:

Correspondence to: Yung Doug Suh2 e-mail:


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