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Amphiphilic Functionalized Acupuncture Needle as SERS Sensor for In Situ Multiphase Detection

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posted on 2018-02-19, 00:00 authored by Binbin Zhou, Mei Mao, Xiaomin Cao, Meihong Ge, Xianghu Tang, Shaofei Li, Dongyue Lin, Liangbao Yang, Jinhuai Liu
Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a powerful spectroscopic technique with unique vibrational fingerprints, making it an ideal candidate for in situ multiphase detection. However, it is a great challenge to determine how to guide the SERS sensor to target molecules of interest in multiphase heterogeneous samples with minimal disturbance. Here, we present a portable ultrasensitive and highly repeatable SERS sensor for in situ multiphase detection. The sensor is composed of commercial Ag acupuncture needle and PVP-Au nanoparticles (Au NPs). The PVP on the Au NPs can adsorb and induce the Au NPs into a highly uniform array on the surface of the Ag needle because of its adhesiveness and steric nature. The Au NPs-Ag Needle system (Au-AgN) holds a huge SERS effect, which is enabled by the multiple plasmonic couplings from particle–film and interparticle. The PVP, as the amphiphilic polymer, promotes the target molecules to adsorb on surface of the Au-AgN whether in the oil phase or in the water phase. In this work, the Au-AgN sensor was directly inserted into the multiphase system with the laser in situ detection, and SERS detection at different spots of the Au-AgN sensor provided Raman signal of targets molecule in the different phase. In situ multiphase detection can minimize the disturbance of sampling and provide more accurate information. The facile fabrication and amphiphilic functionalization make Au-AgN sensor as generalized SERS detection platform for on-site testing of aqueous samples, organic samples, even the multiphase heterogeneous samples.

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