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Research News: Infection Diagnostics: Fiber‐Optic SERS Probes Fabricated Using Two‐Photon Polymerization For Rapid Detection of Bacteria

Infection Diagnostics: Fiber‐Optic SERS Probes Fabricated Using Two‐Photon Polymerization For Rapid Detection of Bacteria 

Jang Ah Kim, Dominic J. Wales, Alex J. Thompson, Guang-Zhong Yang

 

This study presents a novel fiber-optic surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) probe (SERS-on-a-tip) fabricated using a simple, two-step protocol based on off-the-shelf components and materials, with a high degree of controllability and repeatability. Two-photon polymerization and subsequent metallization are adopted to fabricate a range of SERS arrays on both planar substrates and end-facets of optical fibers. For the SERS-on-a-tip probes, a limit of detection of 10−7 m (Rhodamine 6G) and analytical enhancement factors of up to 1300 are obtained by optimizing the design, geometry, and alignment of the SERS arrays on the tip of the optical fiber. Furthermore, strong repeatability and consistency are achieved for the fabricated SERS arrays, demonstrating that the technique may be suitable for large-scale fabrication procedures in the future. Finally, rapid SERS detection of live Escherichia coli cells is demonstrated using integration times in the milliseconds to seconds range. This result indicates strong potential for in vivo diagnostic use, particularly for detection of infections. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, this represents the first report of detection of live, unlabeled bacteria using a fiber-optic SERS probe.

 

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