Nano Research

Article Title

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering nanosensors for in vivo detection of nucleic acid targets in a large animal model


nanosensor, nanoprobes, plasmonics, nanostar, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), in vivo sensing


ABSTRACT Although nanotechnology has led to important advances in in vitro diagnostics, the development of nanosensors for in vivo detection remains very challenging. Here, we demonstrated the proof-of-principle of in vivo detection of nucleic acid targets using a promising type of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanosensor implanted in the skin of a large animal model (pig). The in vivo nanosensor used in this study involves the “inverse molecular sentinel” detection scheme using plasmonics-active nanostars, which have tunable absorption bands in the near infrared region of the “tissue optical window”, rendering them efficient as an optical sensing platform for in vivo optical detection. Ex vivo measurements were also performed using human skin grafts to demonstrate the detection of SERS nanosensors through tissue. In this study, a new core–shell nanorattle probe with Raman reporters trapped between the core and shell was utilized as an internal standard system for self-calibration. These results illustrate the usefulness and translational potential of the SERS nanosensor for in vivo biosensing.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press