Bacterial DNA Recognition by SERS Active Plasma-Coupled Nanogold

Vasyl Shvalya, Aswathy Vasudevan, Martina Modic, Mohammad Abutoama, Cene Skubic, Nejc Nadižar, Janez Zavašnik, Damjan Vengust, Aleksander Zidanšek, Ibrahim Abdulhalim, Damjana Rozman, Uroš Cvelbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


It is shown that surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) can identify bacteria based on their genomic DNA composition, acting as a "sample-distinguishing marker". Successful spectral differentiation of bacterial species was accomplished with nanogold aggregates synthesized through single-step plasma reduction of the ionic gold-containing vapored precursor. A high enhancement factor (EF = 107) in truncated coupled plasmonic particulates allowed SERS-probing at nanogram sample quantities. Simulations confirmed the occurrence of the strongest electric field confinement within nanometric gaps between gold dimers/chains from where the molecular fingerprints of bacterial DNA fragments gained photon scattering enhancement. The most prominent Raman modes linked to fundamental base-pair molecular vibrations were deconvoluted and used to proceed with nitrogenous base content estimation. The genomic composition (percentage of guanine-cytosine and adenine-thymine) was successfully validated by third-generation sequencing using nanopore technology, further proving that the SERS technique can be employed to swiftly specify bioentities by the discriminative principal-component statistical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9757-9765
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2022


  • DNA Raman fingerprints
  • DNA genomic ratio
  • coupled plasmonic nanogold
  • plasma electrochemical reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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