Label-Free SERS Detection of Relevant Bioanalytes on Silver-Coated Carbon Nanotubes: The Case of Cocaine

Marcos Sanlés-Sobrido, Laura Rodríguez-Lorenzo, Silvia Lorenzo-Abalde, África González-Fernández, Miguel A. Correa-Duarte, Ramón A. Álvarez-Puebla, and Luis M. Liz-Marzán
Nanoscale, 2009, 1, 153–158


Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy can be used for the label-free determination and quantification of relevant small biometabolites that are hard to identify by conventional immunological methods, in the absence of labelling. In this work, detection is based on monitoring the vibrational changes occurring at a specific biointerface (a monoclonal antibody, mAb) supported on silver-coated carbon nanotubes (CNT@Ag). Engineered CNT@Ag play a key role, as they offer a stable substrate to support the biointerface, with a high density of hot spots. Proof of concept is demonstrated through the analysis and quantification of the main cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine. These results open a new avenue toward the generation of portable sensors for fast ultradetection and quantification of relevant metabolites. The use of discrete particles (CNT@Ag@mAb) rather than rough films, or other conventional SERS supports, will also enable a safe remote interrogation of highly toxic sources in environmental problems or in biological fluids.