Plasmonic Nanomaterials for Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering Sensing and Therapy
Vanessa Karen Cupil-Garcia, Ph.D. Candidate
Tuan Vo-Dinh, Ph.D., Advisor
Abstract: In this thesis, we present an overview of the development and application of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and plasmonic nanoplatforms developed in our laboratory for sensing and therapeutic applications. We have developed various plasmonics-active substrates and nanoparticle-based sensing platforms including inverse molecular sentinels (iMS) utilizing gold nanostars (AuNS) and nanorods (AuNR@Ag). These platforms have been used for several applications, such as chemical fiber sensing and monitoring of genomic biomarkers in plants for renewable bioenergy research. The AuNR@Ag is unique particle that was developed with the purpose of infiltrating plant cells. We successfully demonstrated particle uptake in plant cells using a variety of methods such as confocal microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and x-ray fluorescence microscopy. Dye-coated AuNR@Ag proved to serve as an effective and strong contrast agent for two-photon imaging, photoacoustic imaging, and Raman mapping during in vivo experiments in Tobacco leaves. The AuNR@Ag iMS was a first of its kind biosensor that was applied for sensing for microRNA targets in leaf tissue.
Applications of plasmonic AuNS for sensing of tumors with shifted excitation difference spectroscopy (SERDS) in mouse models is also presented. An interesting advance was the previous development of AuNS-mediated cancer ablating photothermal therapy (PTT) in combination with immunotherapy, a method referred to as Synergistic Immuno Photothermal Nanotherapy (SYMPHONY). To advance SYMPHONY technology, we also synthesized and tested the therapeutic properties of organic and inorganic nanoplatforms.