Detection of SERS active labelled DNA based on surface affinity to silver nanoparticles

Mhairi M. Harper, Jennifer A. Dougan, Neil C. Shand, Duncan Graham, Karen Faulds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Developments in specific DNA detection assays have been shown to be increasingly beneficial for molecular diagnostics and biological research. Many approaches use optical spectroscopy as an assay detection method and, owing to the sensitivity and molecular specificity offered, surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy has become a competitively exploited technique. This study utilises SERS to demonstrate differences in affinity of dye labelled DNA through differences in electrostatic interactions with silver nanoparticles. Results show clear differences in the SERS intensity obtained from single stranded DNA, double stranded DNA and a free dye label and demonstrate surface attraction is driven through electrostatic charges on the nucleotides and not the SERS dye. It has been further demonstrated that, through optimisation of experimental conditions and careful consideration of sequence composition, a DNA detection method with increased sample discrimination at lower DNA concentrations can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2063-2068
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • DNA
  • silver nanoparticles
  • SERS
  • Raman scattering


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