Dual-Color Plasmonic Nanosensor for Radiation Dosimetry

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2020 May 20;12(20):22499-22506. doi: 10.1021/acsami.0c03001. Epub 2020 May 7.


Radiation dosimeters are critical for accurately assessing the levels of radiation exposure of tumor sites and surrounding tissues and for optimizing therapeutic interventions as well as for monitoring environmental exposure. To fill the need for a simple, user-friendly, and inexpensive dosimeter, we designed an innovative colorimetric nanosensor-based assay for detecting ionizing radiation. We show that hydroxyl radicals generated by ionizing radiation can be used to etch gold nanorods (AuNRs) and silver nanoprisms (AgNPRs), yielding reproducible color changes for radiation dose detection in the range of 50-2000 rad, broad enough to cover doses used in hyperfractionated, conventional, and hypofractionated radiotherapy. This range of doses detected by this assay correlates with radiation-induced DNA damage response in mammalian cells. Furthermore, this AuNR- and AgNPR-based sensing platform has been established in a paper format that can be readily adopted for a wide range of applications and translation.

Keywords: colorimetric detection; dual-color nanosensor; gold nanorods; radiation dosimetry; silver nanoprisms.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color
  • Colorimetry / instrumentation
  • Colorimetry / methods
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Paper
  • Radiation, Ionizing*
  • Radiometry / instrumentation
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Silver / chemistry


  • Silver
  • Gold