Controlled positioning of analytes and cells on a plasmonic platform for glycan sensing using surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy†
The rise of molecular plasmonics and its application to ultrasensitive spectroscopic measurements has been enabled by the rational design and fabrication of a variety of metallic nanostructures. Advanced nano and microfabrication methods are key to the development of such structures, allowing one to tailor optical fields at the sub-wavelength scale, thereby optimizing excitation conditions for ultrasensitive detection. In this work, the control of both analyte and cell positioning on a plasmonic platform is enabled using nanofabrication methods involving patterning of fluorocarbon (FC) polymer (C4F8) thin films on a plasmonic platform fabricated by nanosphere lithography (NSL). This provides the possibility to probe biomolecules of interest in the vicinity of cells using plasmon-mediated surface enhanced spectroscopies. In this context, we demonstrate the surface enhanced biosensing of glycan expression in different cell lines by surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) on these plasmonic platforms functionalized with 4-mercaptophenylboronic acid (4-MPBA) as the Raman reporter. These cell lines include human embryonic kidney (HEK 293), C2C12 mouse myoblasts, and HeLa (Henrietta Lacks) cervical cancer cells. A distinct glycan expression is observed for cancer cells compared to other cell lines by confocal SERS mapping. This suggests the potential application of these versatile SERS platforms for differentiating cancerous from non-cancerous cells.