Herein, we describe the synthesis and characterization of a covalent nanoscale assembly formed between diphenylalanine micro/nanotubes (PNT) and folic acid (FA). The conjugate was obtained via chemical functionalization through coupling of amine groups of PNTs and carboxylic groups of FA. The surface analysis of PNT-FA indicated the presence of FA aggregates on the surface of PNTs. The covalent interaction between FA and self-assembled PNTs was further investigated using fluorescence microscopy, Raman and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopies. The SERS experiments were performed on a large area silver-capped (diameter of 62 nm) silicon nanopillars with an approximate height of 400 nm and a width of 200 nm. The results showed that the PNT-FA synthesis procedure preserves the molecular structure of FA. The PNT-FA conjugate presented in this study is a promising candidate for applications in the detection and diagnosis of cancer or tropical diseases such as leishmaniasis and as a carrier nanosystem delivering drugs to malignant tumors that overexpress folate receptors.
Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 2014, Vol 16, Issue 7