Star-shaped magnetite@gold nanoparticles for protein magnetic separation and SERS detection†
A novel synthetic methodology for star shaped gold-coated magnetic nanoparticles is reported. The coating is performed in two steps: formation of gold nuclei at the surface of magnetite nanoparticles followed by growth of the gold nuclei into a complete star shaped shell. The star-shaped gold-coated magnetic nanoparticles thus obtained preserve the magnetic properties of the precursor magnetite nanoparticles, e.g. they can be easily separated with a magnet. In addition, the gold coating provides interesting optical properties while simultaneously allowing for biofunctionalization that may be advantageous for biological applications, such as (bio)detection via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). As a proof-of-concept, a capping agent terminated with a nickel(II)-nitrilotriacetate group showing high affinity for histidine was used to modify the surface of the nanoparticles. The resulting star-shaped nanoparticles were used to selectively capture histidine-tagged maltose-binding protein from a crude cell extract. Finally, the performance of star shaped gold-coated magnetic nanoparticles as SERS platforms was demonstrated through the detection of Raman active dye (Astra Blue).