Stabilized gold nanorod–dye conjugates with controlled resonance coupling create bright surface-enhanced resonance Raman nanotags†
The preparation and characterization of stable and non-aggregated colloidal suspensions of gold nanorod–molecular dye complexes which exhibit very bright surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) signals is described. A systematic study was performed where both the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) of the nanorod and the molecular resonance of dyes adsorbed onto the rod surface were selectively tuned with respect to the laser excitation wavelengths. Resonance coupling was found to be a significant factor in the overall SERRS enhancement. The polymer stabilized nanorod–dye conjugates were prepared without the added complexity of nanoparticle aggregation as well as having good control over the surface coverage and orientation of the dye molecules. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this new class of Raman nanotags greatly outperforms an approach based on quasi-spherical gold nanoparticles.