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Keywords:

  • SERS;
  • TERS;
  • cells;
  • nanoparticles;
  • nanopipettes;
  • carbon nanotubes

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a promising and powerful label free technique for high resolution analysis of single cells. For intracellular analysis, there is a need for SERS-active nanoprobes that are minimally invasive to cells, do not affect cell viability, and provide reproducible signals. This work reviews the state-of-the-art tools currently available for intracellular SERS. Various types of SERS probes are considered, including colloidal gold and silver nanoparticles, metallized optical fibers, and tip-enhanced Raman probes. We also discuss recently developed SERS-active nanopipettes implemented on the basis of pulled glass microcapillaries. Finally, the critical aspects of selecting an optimal SERS nanoprobe for single-cell analysis depending on a particular application are summarized. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.