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Advanced Functional Materials 2019, 29(33), 1903041

Plasmonic Self-Propelled Nanomotors for Explosives Detection via Solution- Based Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering

Nanomotors represent a class of artificial machines that span the chasm between molecular motors and bigger micromotors. Their importance lies in the fact that to effectively navigate and perform tasks in a biological environment without alerting the action of the immune system, the maximal size of the object has to be well below 200 nm. Fully nanosized gold/silver core/shell plasmonic nanomotors using the seeded growth wet chemical approach, which allows high scalability of synthesis of the nanomotors compared to planar substrate‐based methods, is presented. Using the nanoparticle tracking analysis, the catalysis driven enhanced diffusion of the plasmonic nanomotors in the presence of low concentrations of fuel is presented and shown that the prepared nanomotors are good candidates for a solution‐based surface‐enhanced Raman spectroscopy detection of picric acid, a typical explosive. In addition to the mentioned effects, ligand‐exchange is performed on the nanomotors to replace the surfactant with its thiolated analog, a combination which is already proven in literature to be stealthy to the immune response of the living organism.

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