Silica-coated triangular gold nanoprisms as distance-dependent plasmon-enhanced fluorescence-based probes for biochemical applications
Plasmon-enhanced fluorescence (PEF)-based anisotropic nanostructures are considered extremely promising tools for improving the inherent problems of traditional fluorophores and for detecting important biomolecules with high sensitivity. Herein, a novel triangular gold nanoprism (AuNPR)-based fluorescence probe, AuNPR@SiO2@12,17-tetramethyl-3-dihydro-(2s-trans)-thyl-7(Ce6), was developed for PEF by virtue of multiple “hot spots” of AuNPRs. Fluorescence enhancement of fluorophores can be realized owing to the larger and stronger electromagnetic fields located at the sharp tips of AuNPRs than those on spherical particles and nanorods. A silica shell was employed as a rigid spacer to precisely adjust the distance between the AuNPR and Ce6 for optimal PEF. Owing to the improved fluorescence signal, core–shell PEF-based AuNPRs can be applied as a turn-on probe for highly selective and sensitive detection of pyrophosphate (PPi) with a desirable detection limit of 0.2 μM using a displacement approach. Meanwhile, we demonstrated that these nanomaterials have great potential for real-time monitoring of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products, successfully revealing an approximately 240 times higher detectable fluorescence response than that of traditional gel electrophoresis. Furthermore, cell imaging indicates the potential applications of PEF-based probes in living cells.