Magnetic-Responsive Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Platform with Tunable Hot Spot for Ultrasensitive Virus Nucleic Acid Detection

Bohan Yin, Willis Kwun Hei Ho, Qin Zhang, Chuanqi Li, Yingying Huang, Jiaxiang Yan, Hongrong Yang, Jianhua Hao, Siu Hong Dexter Wong, Mo Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4714-4724
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2022


  • DNA flexibility
  • long-chain nucleic acid detection
  • magnetic modulation
  • plasmon coupling distance
  • surface-enhanced Raman signal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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