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New Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Platforms: Composite Calcium Carbonate Microspheres Coated with Astralen and Silver Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2013, 00:00 by Inna Y. Stetciura, Alexey V. Markin, Andrei N. Ponomarev, Alexander V. Yakimansky, Tatiana S. Demina, Cristian Grandfils, Dmitry V. Volodkin, Dmitry A. Gorin
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) microspectroscopy is a very promising label-free, noncontact, and nondestructive method for real-time monitoring of extracellular matrix (ECM) development and cell integration in scaffolds for tissue engineering. Here, we prepare a new type of micrometer-sized SERS substrate, core–shell microparticles composed of solid carbonate core coated with silver nanoparticles and polyhedral multishell fullerene-like structure, astralen. Astralen has been assembled with polyallylamine hydrochloride (PAH) by the layer-by-layer manner followed by Ag nanoparticle formation by means of a silver mirror reaction, giving the final structure of composite particles CaCO3(PAH/astralen)x/Ag, where x = 1–3. The components of the microparticle carry multiple functionalities: (i) an easy identification by Raman imaging (photostable astralen) and (ii) SERS due to a rough surface of Ag nanoparticles. A combination of Ag and astralen nanoparticles provides an enhancement of astralen Raman signal by more than 1 order of magnitude. Raman signals of commonly used scaffold components such as polylactide and polyvinyl alcohol as well as ECM component (hyaluronic acid) are significantly enhanced. Thus, we demonstrate that new mechanically robust and easily detectable (by astralen signal or optically) core–shell microspheres based on biocompatible CaCO3 can be used as SERS platform. Particle design opens many future perspectives for fabrication of SERS platforms with multiple functions for biomedical applications, for example, for theranostic.