Multiplexed detection of oligonucleotide targets has been performed with gold nanoparticle probes labeled with oligonucleotides and Raman-active dyes. The gold nanoparticles facilitate the formation of a silver coating that acts as a surface-enhanced Raman scattering promoter for the dye-labeled particles that have been captured by target molecules and an underlying chip in microarray format. The strategy provides the high-sensitivity and high-selectivity attributes of grayscale scanometric detection but adds multiplexing and ratioing capabilities because a very large number of probes can be designed based on the concept of using a Raman tag as a narrow-band spectroscopic fingerprint. Six dissimilar DNA targets with six Raman-labeled nanoparticle probes were distinguished, as well as two RNA targets with single nucleotide polymorphisms. The current unoptimized detection limit of this method is 20 femtomolar.
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