Metamaterials-Based Label-Free Nanosensor for Conformation and Affinity Biosensing

Cuong Cao, Jun Zhang, Xinglin Wen, Stephanie L Dodson, Nguyen Thuan Dao, Lai Mun Wong, Shijie Wang , Li Shuzhou, Anh Tuan Phan, Qihua Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of molecular interaction and conformational dynamics of biomolecules is of paramount importance in understanding of their vital functions in complex biological systems, disease detection, and new drug development. Plasmonic biosensors based upon surface plasmon resonance and localized surface plasmon resonance have become the predominant workhorse for detecting accumulated biomass caused by molecular binding events. However, unlike surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), the plasmonic biosensors indeed are not suitable tools to interrogate vibrational signatures of conformational transitions required for biomolecules to interact. Here, we show that highly tunable plasmonic metamaterials can offer two transducing channels for parallel acquisition of optical transmission and sensitive SERS spectra at the biointerface, simultaneously probing the conformational states and binding affinity of biomolecules, e.g. G-quadruplexes, in different environments. We further demonstrate the use of the metamaterials for fingerprinting and detection of arginine-glycine-glycine domain of nucleolin, a cancer biomarker which specifically binds to a G-quadruplex, with the picomolar sensitivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7583–7591
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
Early online date17 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2013


  • metamaterials
  • biosensor
  • G-quadruplex DNA
  • conformation analysis
  • surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy
  • refractive index sensing
  • localized surface plasmon resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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