Immunoassay for tumor markers in human serum based on Si nanoparticles and SiC@Ag SERS-active substrate†
Based on a sandwich structure consisting of nano-Si immune probes and a SiC@Ag SERS-active immune substrate, a kind of ultra-sensitive immunoassay protocol is presented to detect tumor markers in human serum. The nano-Si immune probes were prepared by immobilizing the detecting antibodies onto the surfaces of SiO2-coated Si nanoparticles (NPs) which were modified with 3-(aminopropyl)trimethoxysilane, and the SiC@Ag SERS-active immune substrates were prepared by immobilizing the captured antibodies on Ag film sputtered on SiC sandpaper. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time that Si NPs are directly used as Raman tags in an immunoassay strategy. And, the SiC@Ag SERS-active substrates exhibit excellent surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) performances with an enhancement factor of ∼105, owing to the plasmonic effect of the Ag film on the rough surface of the SiC sandpaper. In our experiments, the sandwich immunoassay structure has been successfully applied to detect prostate specific antigen (PSA), α-fetoprotein (AFP) and carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) in a human serum sample and the limit of detections are as low as 1.79 fg mL−1, 0.46 fg mL−1 and 1.3 × 10−3 U mL−1, respectively. It reveals that the proposed immunoassay protocol has demonstrated a high sensitivity for tumor markers in human serum and a potential practicability in biosensing and clinical diagnostics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Clinical spectroscopy