Convenient formation of nanoparticle aggregates on microfluidic chips for highly sensitive SERS detection of biomolecules

Jianhua Zhou, Kangning REN, Yihua Zhao, Wen Dai, Hongkai Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Microfluidic chips combined with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) offer an outstanding platform for rapid and high-sensitivity chemical analysis. However, it is nontrivial to conveniently form nanoparticle aggregrates (as SERS-active spots for SERS detection) in microchannels in a well-controlled manner. Here, we present a rapid, highly sensitive and label-free analytical technique for determining bovine serum albumin (BSA) on a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microfluidic chip using SERS. A modified PDMS pneumatic valve and nanopost arrays at the bottom of the fluidic microchannel are used for reversibly trapping gold nanoparticles to form gold aggregates, creating SERS-active spots for Raman detection. We fabricated a chip that consisted of a T-shaped fluidic channel and two modified pneumatic valves, which was suitable for fast loading of samples. Quantitative analysis of BSA is demonstrated with the measured peak intensity at 1,615 cm -1 in the surface-enhanced Raman spectra. With our microfluidic chip, the detection limit of Raman can reach as low as the picomolar level, comparable to that of normal mass spectrometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1609
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aggregates
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Highly sensitive detection
  • Microfluidics
  • Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Convenient formation of nanoparticle aggregates on microfluidic chips for highly sensitive SERS detection of biomolecules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this