Nanoparticles made of coinage metals are well known to display unique optical properties stemming from the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) phenomenon, allowing their use as transducers in various biosensing configurations. While most of the reports initially dealt with spherical gold nanoparticles owing to their ease of synthesis, the interest in gold nanorods (AuNR) as plasmonic biosensors is rising steadily. These anisotropic nanoparticles exhibit, on top of the LSPR band in the blue range common with spherical nanoparticles, a longitudinal LSPR band, in all respects superior, and in particular in terms of sensitivity to the surrounding media and LSPR-biosensing. However, AuNRs synthesis and their further functionalization are less straightforward and require thorough processing. In this paper, we intend to give an up-to-date overview of gold nanorods in LSPR biosensing, starting from a critical review of the recent findings on AuNR synthesis and the main challenges related to it. We further highlight the various strategies set up to coat AuNR with a silica shell of controlled thickness and porosity compatible with LSPR-biosensing. Then, we provide a survey of the methods employed to attach various bioreceptors to AuNR. Finally, the most representative examples of AuNR-based LSPR biosensors are reviewed with a focus put on their analytical performances.
Keywords: gold nanorods; localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR); silica coating; surface functionalization.