Combined green hydrothermal synthesis and thermal annealing yields the optimal SERS substrates for amplifying the Raman signal preserving the condition of biological material.

The scientists have analysed the binding of copper ions to PrPC molecules on living cultured cells and highlighted a close relationship between the expression of prion protein and the intensity of Raman peaks.

The study points towards the possibility of unravelling and quantifying prion protein expression in complex biological samples by the application of an external stimulus, which has the potential to both speed up and reduce the cost of detecting prion protein.

A full description of the work can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.