Gold Nanostar Substrates for SERS Sensing in the Femtomolar Regime | Rutgers University Innovation Ventures

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 is able to measure low quantities of target molecules with high sensitivity, low-cost, low signal-to-noise ratio, and quantitative multiplexing.

Market Applications:

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


  • Bottom-up functionalization is  inexpensive and reproducible 
  • Flexible analyte identity
  • Predictable surface coverage
  • Ability to multiplex and measure multiple analytes simultaneously

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration

Patent Information:
Shu Wang
Sr. Licensing Manager
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Sensors & Probes