Spectroscopic tags using dye-embedded nanoparticles and surface-enhanced Raman scattering

Anal Chem. 2003 Nov 15;75(22):6171-6. doi: 10.1021/ac034672u.


Surface-enhanced Raman scattering is capable of providing rich vibrational information at the level of single molecules and single nanoparticles, but the practical applications of this enormous enhancement effect are still a challenge. Here we report a new class of dye-embedded core-shell nanoparticles that are highly efficient for surface Raman enhancement and could be used as spectroscopic tags for multiplexed detection and spectroscopy. The core-shell particles contain a metallic core for optical enhancement, a reporter molecule for spectroscopic signature, and an encapsulating silica shell for protection and conjugation. A surprising finding is that organic molecules with an isothiocyanate (-N=C=S) group or multiple sulfur atoms are compatible with silica encapsulation. In comparison with fluorescent dyes and quantum dots, enhanced Raman probes contain a built-in mechanism for signal amplification and provide rich spectroscopic information under ambient experimental conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbocyanines / chemistry
  • Coloring Agents / chemistry*
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Isothiocyanates / chemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Silicates / chemistry
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / instrumentation*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / methods*
  • Vibration


  • Carbocyanines
  • Coloring Agents
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Silicates
  • Gold