Simultaneous detection of multiple biomarkers by means of SERS on polymer nanopillar gold arrays

Carlo Morasso, Silvia Picciolini, Dora Mehn, Paola Pellacani, Ana Frangolho, Gerardo Marchesini, Renzo Vanna, Alice Gualerzi, Marzia Bedoni, Franco Marabelli, Furio Gramatica

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The detection of biomarkers by means of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is foreseen to became a very important tool in the clinical practice because of its excellent sensitivity and potential for the simultaneous detection of multiple biomarkers. In the present paper we describe how it was possible to build a sensor for the detection of genetic biomarkers involved in acute myeloid leukemia. The assay is based on the use of a specifically designed SERS substrate made of a 2D crystal structure of polymeric pillars embedded in a gold layer. This substrate is characterized by good enhancing properties coupled with an excellent homogeneity. The SERS substrate was conjugated with DNA probes complementary to a target sequence and used in a sandwich assay with gold nanoparticles labeled with a second DNA probe and a Raman reporter. The so developed assay allowed the detection of a leukemia biomarker (WT1 gene) and an housekeeping gene with low picomolar sensitivity. At last, we optimized the assay in order to tackle one of the main limitations of SERS based assay: the loss of signal that is observed when the Raman spectra are collected in liquid. Combining a preferential functionalization on the polymeric pillars with a different height of the polymer pillars from the gold layer the assay demonstrated its effectiveness even when measured in buffer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlasmonics in Biology and Medicine XIII
ISBN (Electronic)9781628419580
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventPlasmonics in Biology and Medicine XIII - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 15 2016Feb 16 2016


OtherPlasmonics in Biology and Medicine XIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • 2D array
  • Biomarker Detection
  • Biosensor
  • Cancer
  • Nanoparticles
  • Raman
  • SERS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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