Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-based biosensors are promising tools for virus nucleic acid detection. However, it remains challenging for SERS-based biosensors using a sandwiching strategy to detect long-chain nucleic acids such as nucleocapsid (N) gene of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) because the extension of the coupling distance (CD) between the two tethered metallic nanostructures weakens electric field and SERS signals. Herein, we report a magnetic-responsive substrate consisting of heteoronanostructures that controls the CD for ultrasensitive and highly selective detection of the N gene of SARS-CoV-2. Significantly, our findings show that this platform reversibly shortens the CD and enhances SERS signals with a 10-fold increase in the detection limit from 1 fM to 100 aM, compared to those without magnetic modulation. The optical simulation that emulates the CD shortening process confirms the CD-dependent electric field strength and further supports the experimental results. Our study provides new insights into designing a stimuli-responsive SERS-based platform with tunable hot spots for long-chain nucleic acid detection.
- DNA flexibility
- long-chain nucleic acid detection
- magnetic modulation
- plasmon coupling distance
- surface-enhanced Raman signal
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)