Letter | Published:

Plasmonic nanosensors with inverse sensitivity by means of enzyme-guided crystal growth

Nature Materials volume 11, pages 604607 (2012) | Download Citation

  • An Addendum to this article was published on 23 January 2018
  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 23 January 2018

This article has been updated

Abstract

Lowering the limit of detection is key to the design of sensors needed for food safety regulations1,2, environmental policies3,4,5 and the diagnosis of severe diseases6,7,8,9,10. However, because conventional transducers generate a signal that is directly proportional to the concentration of the target molecule, ultralow concentrations of the molecule result in variations in the physical properties of the sensor that are tiny, and therefore difficult to detect with confidence. Here we present a signal-generation mechanism that redefines the limit of detection of nanoparticle sensors by inducing a signal that is larger when the target molecule is less concentrated. The key step to achieve this inverse sensitivity is to use an enzyme that controls the rate of nucleation of silver nanocrystals on plasmonic transducers. We demonstrate the outstanding sensitivity and robustness of this approach by detecting the cancer biomarker prostate-specific antigen down to 10−18 g ml−1 (4 × 10−20 M) in whole serum.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Change history

  • 15 December 2017

    In the version of this Letter originally published, the x and y values of the data points in Fig. 2c were incorrect. The authors have also made some changes to the Supplementary Information: Fig. S9 has been replaced because the x values were incorrect; the value of the carbonate buffer concentration has been corrected to 10 mM; and the sentence on page 2 that read "Subsequently, non-reacted aldehyde sites were blocked with bovine serum albumin (BSA, 0.1 mg/mL) and ethanolamine (10 mM) in bicarbonate buffer for 1 h." has been changed to "When modifying nanostars with antibodies, non-reacted aldehyde sites were blocked with bovine serum albumin (BSA, 0.1 mg/mL) and ethanolamine (10 mM) in bicarbonate buffer for 1 h."

References

  1. 1.

    Food pathogen detection. Science 316, 1579–1580 (2007).

  2. 2.

    , , & Single-cell pathogen detection with a reverse-phase immunoassay on impedimetric transducers. Anal. Chem. 81, 7732–7736 (2009).

  3. 3.

    Overhaul of CDC panel revives lead safety debate. Science 298, 732–732 (2002).

  4. 4.

    , & Bioinspired target-specific crystallization on peptide nanotubes for ultrasensitive Pb ion detection. Small 6, 1753–1756 (2010).

  5. 5.

    , & Optical analysis of Hg(2+) ions by oligonucleotide-gold-nanoparticle hybrids and DNA-based machines. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 47, 3927–3931 (2008).

  6. 6.

    & Drivers of biodiagnostic development. Nature 462, 461–464 (2009).

  7. 7.

    et al. Single-molecule enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detects serum proteins at subfemtomolar concentrations. Nature Biotechnol. 28, 596–599 (2010).

  8. 8.

    et al. Integrated barcode chips for rapid, multiplexed analysisof proteins in microliter quantities of blood. Nature Biotechnol. 26, 1373–1378 (2008).

  9. 9.

    , , , & Protease-triggered dispersion of nanoparticle assemblies. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129, 4156–4157 (2007).

  10. 10.

    et al. Enzyme-amplified array sensing of proteins in solution and in biofluids. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 5285–5289 (2010).

  11. 11.

    & Bioresponsive peptide-inorganic hybrid nanomaterials. Chem. Soc. Rev. 39, 3358–3370 (2010).

  12. 12.

    , & Growing metal nanoparticles by enzymes. Adv. Mater. 18, 1109–1120 (2006).

  13. 13.

    Tailoring surface plasmons through the morphology and assembly of metal nanoparticles. Langmuir 22, 32–41 (2006).

  14. 14.

    , & Biomimetic crystallization of sulfide semiconductor nanoparticles in aqueous solution. Small 6, 999–1002 (2010).

  15. 15.

    , , , & Enzymatic synthesis and nanostructural control of gallium oxide at low temperature. Adv. Mater. 17, 314–318 (2005).

  16. 16.

    , & Evidence for seed-mediated nucleation in the chemical reduction of gold salts to gold nanoparticles. Chem. Mater. 13, 2313–2322 (2001).

  17. 17.

    et al. Optical nonlinearities of Au nanoparticles and Au/Ag coreshells. Opt. Lett. 34, 307–309 (2009).

  18. 18.

    , , , & Modulation of localized surface plasmon and SERS response in gold dumbbells through silver coating. J. Phys. Chem. C 114, 10417–10423 (2010).

  19. 19.

    , , , & High-yield synthesis and optical response of gold nanostars. Nanotechnology 19, 015606 (2007).

  20. 20.

    et al. Tuning size and sensing properties in colloidal gold nanostars. Langmuir 26, 14943–14950 (2010).

  21. 21.

    & Mechanism of silver(I)-assisted growth of gold nanorods and bipyramids. J. Phys. Chem. B 109, 22192–2220 (2005).

  22. 22.

    et al. Nanoparticle-based bio-barcode assay redefines undetectable PSA and biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 18437–18442 (2009).

  23. 23.

    et al. Synthesis and optical properties of gold nanodecahedra with size control. Adv. Mater. 18, 2529–2534 (2006).

  24. 24.

    , & Biphasic Janus particles with nanoscale anisotropy. Nature Mater. 4, 759–763 (2005).

  25. 25.

    , & Plasmonic detection of a model analyte in serum by a gold nanorod sensor. Anal. Chem. 79, 5278–5283 (2007).

  26. 26.

    & Urease as a nanoreactor for growing crystalline ZnO nanoshells at room temperature. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 47, 5415–5417 (2008).

  27. 27.

    , , , & Kinetically controlled catalytic formation of zinc oxide thin films at low temperature. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 10276–10280 (2006).

  28. 28.

    , , , & Self-assembly of CdTe nanocrystals into free-floating sheets. Science 314, 274–278 (2006).

  29. 29.

    , , , & Colorimetric protein sensing by controlled assembly of gold nanoparticles functionalized with synthetic receptors. Small 5, 2445–2452 (2009).

  30. 30.

    et al. Divalent metal nanoparticles. Science 315, 358–361 (2007).

Download references

Acknowledgements

B. Rodrı´guez-González is thanked for electron-microscopy analysis. M.M.S. thanks the EPSRC and ERC starting investigator grant ‘Naturale’ for financial support. This research was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (R.d.l.R.). L.M.L-M. acknowledges the ERC grant ‘Plasmaquo’ for financial support. L.R-L. acknowledges an FPU scholarship from Ministerio de Educación, Spain. R.A.A-P. acknowledges financial support from CTQ2011-23167 (Ministerio de Economíca y Competitividad, Spain).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Departamento de Quimica Fisica, Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain

    • Laura Rodríguez-Lorenzo
    • , Ramón A. Álvarez-Puebla
    •  & Luis M. Liz-Marzán
  2. Department of Materials, Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK

    • Roberto de la Rica
    •  & Molly M. Stevens

Authors

  1. Search for Laura Rodríguez-Lorenzo in:

  2. Search for Roberto de la Rica in:

  3. Search for Ramón A. Álvarez-Puebla in:

  4. Search for Luis M. Liz-Marzán in:

  5. Search for Molly M. Stevens in:

Contributions

R.d.l.R. elaborated the concept and designed experiments. L.R-L. performed the experiments. M.M.S. and L.M.L-M. supervised the project. All of the authors participated in scientific discussions and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Roberto de la Rica or Molly M. Stevens.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3337

Further reading