Composite SERS-based satellites navigated by optical tweezers for single cell analysis†
Herein, we have designed composite SERS-active micro-satellites, which exhibit a dual role: (i) effective probes for determining cellular composition and (ii) optically movable and easily detectable markers. The satellites were synthesized by the layer-by-layer assisted decoration of silica microparticles with metal (gold or silver) nanoparticles and astralen in order to ensure satellite SERS-based microenvironment probing and satellite recognition, respectively. A combination of optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy can be used to navigate the satellites to a certain cellular compartment and probe the intracellular composition following cellular uptake. In the future, this developed approach may serve as a tool for single cell analysis with nanometer precision due to the multilayer surface design, focusing on both extracellular and intracellular studies.