Gold Nanostar Substrates for SERS Sensing in the Femtomolar Regime

Invention Summary:

Raman spectroscopy is a valuable analytical tool that employs vibration patterns for the identification of molecules. However, it is limited due to the low scattering cross section of most Raman active molecules, which leads to low sensitivity. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) increases the intensity of Raman signals by leveraging the inherent and unique properties of plasmonic nanoparticles (NPs) hence leading to improved detection limits. This technique can be used in fields including pharmaceuticals, material science, forensics, drug detection, and medicine. While the high sensitivity of SERS has been established, many of these methods are extremely expensive and are limited to use with specific analytes.

Rutgers scientists have developed a SERS substrate that uses a functionalized gold thin film with gold nanostar particles for SERS. This technology can measure low quantities of target molecules with high sensitivity, low-cost, high signal-to-noise ratio, and quantitative multiplexing.


  • Inexpensive and reproducible bottom-up substrate functionalization.
  • Flexible application with respect to analyte identity.
  • Multiplexing ability.

Market Applications:

  • Analytical research for the detection of environmental pollutants, toxic industrial waste, and chemical warfare, to name a few.
  • Analysis of pharmaceuticals, drugs, and chemicals in a mixture

Intellectual Property & Development Status: 

US Patent 61/979,844; 15/304,246; PCT/US15/25932. Available for licensing and/or search collaboration. Please contact

Patent Information:
Maricely Ramírez-Hernández
Licensing Manager
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Sensors & Probes