Journal CAU Research Achievements 
Date Jan 12, 2022 

<2022.01.12 CAU Research Achievements에서 보도>

코로나19의 빠른 진단을 위한 '나노플라즈모닉 플랫폼' 기술 개발


Chung-Ang University Researchers Show A Gold-Paved Path Towards Faster COVID-19 Diagnosis


Researchers use gold nanoparticles to develop a new molecular diagnostic platform that considerably reduces the time required for COVID-19 detection


The RT-PCR test, the current diagnostic standard for COVID-19, is considerably time-consuming. To shorten the time required for SARS-CoV-2 detection, researchers have developed a nanotechnology-based platform called “SERS-PCR” using a “gold nanoparticle-internalized nanodimple” substrate. This new molecular diagnostic platform reduces the number of PCR cycles required to amplify and detect viral genes as compared to conventional RT-PCR, allowing more rapid diagnosis and helping in the mitigation of COVID-19 transmission.


코로나진단 영문홍보.png

The new SERS-PCR technique could enable more rapid COVID-19 diagnosis, which will help in curtailing the spread of the disease. "Michigan National Guard" by The National Guard is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


The rapid spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has created a public health crisis around the world. While vaccination campaigns are currently underway, early COVID-19 detection and isolation are key for controlling disease transmission and protecting vulnerable populations. The current standard for COVID-19 diagnosis is reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), a technique in which viral genes are detected after they undergo multiples cycles of amplification. However, this technique is time-consuming, creating a testing backlog across diagnostic centers and leading to delayed diagnosis. Given the unpredictable nature of spikes in COVID-19 transmission, new approaches that allow faster diagnosis are the need of the hour.  


Providing newfound hope is a recent study published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics, in which researchers from Korea and China have introduced a novel nanotechnology-based platform that can shorten the time required for COVID-19 diagnosis. Their surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-PCR detection platform—prepared using gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in the cavities of Au ‘nanodimple’ substrates (AuNDSs)—can detect viral genes after only 8 cycles of amplification. That is almost one-third of the number required with conventional RT-PCR. This paper was made available online on October 31, 2021, and was published in volume 197 of the journal on February 1, 2022.


Conventional RT-PCR is based on the detection of fluorescence signals, so 3–4 hours are required to detect SARS-CoV-2. This speed is not enough considering how rapidly COVID-19 spreads. We wanted to find a way to cut this time at least by half,” says Prof. Jaebum Choo, explaining the motivation behind the study. Fortunately, the answer was not too far. In a previous study published in 2021, Prof. Choo’s team had developed a novel detection platform in which high-sensitivity SERS signals are produced by AuNPs uniformly arranged in the cavities of AuNDSs through a technique called DNA hybridization. Based on this previous discovery, Prof. Choo and his team developed the novel SERS-PCR platform for COVID-19 diagnosis.


The newly developed SERS-PCR assay uses SERS signals to detect “bridge DNA”—small DNA probes that slowly break down in the presence of target viral genes. Therefore, in samples from patients positive for COVID-19, the concentration of bridge DNA (and therefore the SERS signal) continuously decreases with progressive PCR cycles. In contrast, when SARS-CoV-2 is not present in the sample, the concentration of bridge DNA and the resultant SERS signal remain unchanged. In this way, SARS-CoV-2 can be rapidly detected in patient samples.



The team tested the effectiveness of their system using two representative target markers of SARS-CoV-2, namely, the envelope protein (E) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) genes of SARS-CoV-2. While 25 cycles were required for RT-PCR-based detection, the AuNDS-based SERS-PCR platform required only 8 cycles, considerably reducing the testing duration. “Although our results are preliminary, they provide an important proof-of-concept for the validity of SERS-PCR as a diagnostic technique. Our AuNDS-based SERS-PCR technique is a promising new molecular diagnostic platform that can considerably shorten the time required for gene detection compared to conventional RT-PCR techniques. This model can be further expanded by incorporating an automatic sampler to develop a next-generation molecular diagnostic system,” explains Prof. Choo.


Indeed, SERS-PCR could be an important tool in our arsenal against the COVID-19 pandemic. It could also create a paradigm shift in the field of molecular diagnostics, revolutionizing how we detect infectious diseases and tackle future epidemics.  









Title of original paper





Yixuan Wu 1Hajun Dang 1Sung-Gyu Park 2Lingxin Chen 3Jaebum Choo 1


SERS-PCR assays of SARS-CoV-2 target genes using Au nanoparticles-internalized Au nanodimple substrates


Biosensors and Bioelectronics















1 Department of Chemistry, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, 06974, South Korea

2 Nano-Bio Convergence Department, Korea Institute of Materials Science KIMS, Changwon, 51508, South Korea

3 Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, 264003, China


About Chung-Ang University

Chung-Ang University is a private comprehensive research university located in Seoul, South Korea. It was started as a kindergarten in 1918 and attained university status in 1953. It is fully accredited by the Ministry of Education of Korea. Chung-Ang University conducts research activities under the slogan of “Justice and Truth.” Its new vision for completing 100 years is “The Global Creative Leader.” Chung-Ang University offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs, which encompass a law school, management program, and medical school; it has 16 undergraduate and graduate schools each. Chung-Ang University’s culture and arts programs are considered the best in Korea.






About Professor Jaebum Choo

Prof. Jaebum Choo is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry, Chung-Ang University. He obtained a PhD in Molecular Spectroscopy at the Texas A&M University. He was formerly the Director of the Center for Integrated Human Sensing System and Bionano Fusion Technology Program and is currently the Director of the Biomedical Diagnostics Research Center. His research interests include SERS, biosensors, micro-devices, and molecular spectroscopy. Currently, his focus is the development of ultrasensitive optical nano-sensor systems for rapid, sensitive, in vitro infectious disease diagnosis. In 2015, he was appointed as a Baik Nam Distinguished Professor owing to his outstanding academic contributions.




Title Journal Date
Chung-Ang University Researchers Show A Gold-Paved Path Towards Faster COVID-19 Diagnosis file CAU Research Achievements  Jan 12, 2022 
주재범 교수 연구팀, 코로나19 진단시간 획기적 단축 기술 개발 file CAU News  Dec 08, 2021 
화학과 주재범 교수, 국무총리 표창 수상 file CAU News  Nov 25, 2021 
GFID Magazine '연구성과 우수사례' 소개 file GFID Magazine  Oct 19, 2021 
대한화학회 화학세계 '선도연구센터(ERC)' 소개 file 화학세계  Jul 14, 2021 
중앙대학교 매거진 '선도연구센터(ERC)' 소개 file I'M 여기는 Chung-Ang  Feb 01, 2021 
Fighting Respiratory Virus Outbreaks through “Nano-Popcorn” Sensor-based Rapid Detection file CAU RESEARCH NEWS STORY  Jan 06, 2021 
대한화학회 화학세계 '우수선도연구기관' 소개 file 화학세계  Jul 15, 2020 
과학기술정보통신부 2020년 ‘선도연구센터’ ERC 선정 file CAU News  Jul 01, 2020 
영국왕립화학회 발간 국제학술지 ‘Analyst’ 표지논문 게재 file 대학저널  May 11, 2020 
화학과 주재범 교수, ‘이태규 학술상’ 수상 file CAU News Today  Oct 16, 2019 
곰팡이 독소 1시간내 판별하는 칩 개발 file 뉴스1  Sep 17, 2018 
주재범 교수 영국왕립화학회(RSC) "Analyst 저널 Associate Editor" 선임 file RSC Analyst  Mar 01, 2018 
혈액 몇 방울로 난치성 질환을 진단한다? file HY ERICA 2017년 가을호  Sep 08, 2017 
고위험병원체 빠르게 검출한다 file 아시아경제  Aug 17, 2017 
암 조기 진단·치료 위한 나노물질 개발 file 연합뉴스  Apr 13, 2017 
한양대 주재범 교수, 한국바이오칩학회 학술대상 수상 file NEWSIS  Nov 09, 2016 
Bionano Technology Leading the Medical Industry file NEWS H  Oct 19, 2016 
Top 10 Reviewers for Analyst & Integrative Biology file Analyst  Sep 22, 2016 
Impacts of Hanyang's Research_Hypersensitive Biosensor Platform file INTERNET HANYANG NEWS  Jul 29, 2016 
탄저균 바이오마커 검출용 바이오광센서, 「주간 건강과 질병」에 소개 file 주간 건강과 질병  Jun 09, 2016 
SERS 기반 Lateral flow 식중독균 센서, RSC 학술지 Nanoscale blog 소개 file Nanoscale Blog  Jan 25, 2016 
글로벌연구실 '전국1위' 선정 file 조선에듀  Aug 19, 2015 
한양대-스위스연방공대 글로벌연구실 단계평가 전국1위 선정 file 한양대학교 보도자료  Aug 19, 2015 
백남 석학상 수상 file 한양대학교 보도자료  May 14, 2015 
창의적 인재 양성·융합 연구 통해 세계적인 선도 연구집단으로 성장 file 화학세계  Mar 03, 2014 
심장을 뛰게 하는 시간, 15분 file 한양의 맥박 / 인터넷한양 뉴스 (온 캠퍼스)  Feb 21, 2014 
심근경색 빠르고 정확하게 진단 file 한국경제  Jan 27, 2014 
SBS 모닝와이드, YTN 사이언스 '급성심근경색 진단기술' TV 보도 file SBS 모닝와이드, YTN 사이언스  Jan 22, 2014 
공학과 의학의 만남 '혈액 한 방울로 암 자가진단' file 융·복합 미래 매거진 TECH & BEYOND  Jan 02, 2014 
우수연구센터육성(ERC) 통합형 진단시스템 개발 연구사업 file 한국연구재단 Webzine  Jun 05, 2013 
통합형 휴먼센싱 시스템 ERC, 최우수 센터 선정 file 인터넷 한양 뉴스  Jan 27, 2012 
피 한방울로 질병예측 길 연다 file 디지털타임스  Nov 17, 2011 
“2011년 연구재단 기초연구 우수성과 50선” 선정 file 한국연구재단  Sep 29, 2011 
의학, 공학 연계 - 혁신적 휴먼센싱 기술 사업화 file 한국경제  May 11, 2011 
한국연구재단 융복합연구의 지원현황 및 활성화 방향 file 한국연구재단 e-알리미  Aug 25, 2010 
연구실 소개, 통합형 휴먼센싱 시스템 연구센터 file KBCS 소식지  Mar 20, 2010 
마음을 열어 공학을 보라, 넓고 높고 푸른 생명나노공학과 file HY ERICA 55th  Mar 14, 2010 
의학과 공학의 만남, 융합학문의 새로운 패러다임 제시 file 대한뉴스  Oct 07, 2009 
바이오나노융합분야를 선점할 인재양성의 공간 file Dynamic Korea  Oct 03, 2009 
미래 사회를 여는 신기술, 융합학문의 패러다임을 선도하는 우리대학 file HY ERICA 53th  Sep 07, 2009