Monitoring intracellular redox potential changes using SERS nanosensors

Craig Auchinvole, Patricia Richardson, Catherine McGuinnes, Venkatesh Mallikarjun, Kenneth Donaldson, Hamish McNab, Colin Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redox homeostasis and signaling are critically important in the regulation of cell function. There are significant challenges in quantitatively measuring intracellular redox potentials, and in this paper, we introduce a new approach. Our approach is based on the use of nanosensors which comprise molecules that sense the local redox potential, assembled on a gold nanoshell. Since the Raman spectrum of the sensor molecule changes depending on its oxidation state and since the nanoshell allows a huge enhancement of the Raman spectrum, intracellular potential can be calculated by a simple optical measurement. The nanosensors can be controllably delivered to the cytoplasm, without any toxic effects, allowing redox potential to be monitored in a reversible, non-invasive manner over a previously unattainable potential range encompassing both superphysiological and physiological oxidative stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-896
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • intracellular
  • redox
  • SERS
  • nanosensor


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