Surface-enhanced Raman scattering measurement from a lipid bilayer encapsulating a single decahedral nanoparticle mediated by an optical trap
Wright, Amanda J. and Richens, Joanna L. and Bramble, J.P. and Cathcart, N. and Kitaev, V. and O'Shea, Paul and Hudson, A.J. (2016) Surface-enhanced Raman scattering measurement from a lipid bilayer encapsulating a single decahedral nanoparticle mediated by an optical trap. Nanoscale, 8 (36). pp. 16395-16404. ISSN 2040-3364
We present a new technique for the study of model membranes on the length-scale of a single nanosized liposome. Silver decahedral nanoparticles have been encapsulated by a model unilamellar lipid bilayer creating nano-sized lipid vesicles. The metal core has two roles (i) increasing the polarizability of vesicles, enabling a single vesicle to be isolated and confined in an optical trap, and (ii) enhancing Raman scattering from the bilayer, via the high surface-plasmon field at the sharp vertices of the decahedral particles. Combined this has allowed us to measure a Raman fingerprint from a single vesicle of 50 nmdiameter, containing just ∼104 lipid molecules in a bilayer membrane over a surface area of <0.01 µm2, equivalent to a volume of approximately 1 zepto-litre. Raman scattering is a weak and inefficient process and previous studies have required either a substantially larger bilayer area in order to obtain a detectable signal, or the tagging of lipid molecules with a chromophore to provide an indirect probe of the bilayer. Our approach is fully label-free and bio-compatible and, in the future, it will enable much more localized studies of the heterogeneous structure of lipid bilayers and of membrane-bound components than is currently possible.
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