Aggregation of Ag nanoparticle based on surface acoustic wave for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy detection of dopamine

Jin Oh Park, Yongheum Choi, Hyeong Min Ahn, Chang Ki Lee, Honggu Chun, Young Min Park, Kwang Bok Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dopamine (DA), a vital neurotransmitter, plays a critical role in the human brain and relates to neuropsychiatric disorders such as Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia. Numerous studies have explored detection of such biomarkers through surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). However, most of the studies focused on SERS detection face significant challenges with plasmonic nanostructure development. Such challenges often include time-consuming processes, complex fabrication, specialized chemical labeling, poor reproducibility, and random hotspot generation. Therefore, the need for simple and rapid nanostructure development is evident in SERS. Results: We propose an innovative SERS-active sensing technique for 50 nm silver nanoparticle (AgNP) clustering based on surface acoustic wave (SAW). When a 1 μL droplet of AgNP colloid is dispensed onto the SAW-propagation zone, the AgNP cluster is deposited after the droplet completely evaporates, developing plasmonic nanogaps for SERS hotspot caused by spherical AgNP aggregation. By optimizing the SAW system through the hydrophobic treatment and modulation of the operational power, the SAW-induced AgNP clustering showed densely packed AgNP within a dot-like configuration (∼2200 AgNP μm−2), effectively preventing particle welding. The characterization of 4-mercaptobenzoic acid as a probe analyte revealed that concentrations as low as 1.14 pM was detected using our SAW-SERS system under 785 nm laser excitation. Moreover, DA was detected up to 4.28 nM with a determination of 0.99 (R2). Significance: This technique for AgNP clustering induced by SAW provides a rapid, in situ, label-free SERS sensing method with outstanding sensitivity and linearity. A mere act of dropping can create extensive plasmonic hotspots featuring nanogap of ∼1.5 nm. The SAW-induced AgNP clustering can serve as an ultrasensitive SERS-active substrate for diverse molecular detections, including neurotransmitter detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number342036
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan 2

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Acoustic-derived nanostructure
  • Dopamine detection
  • Nanoparticle aggregation
  • Surface acoustic wave
  • Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Aggregation of Ag nanoparticle based on surface acoustic wave for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy detection of dopamine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this