Theranostics 2022; 12(2):574-602. doi:10.7150/thno.67184 This issue


Tailoring noble metal nanoparticle designs to enable sensitive lateral flow immunoassay

Xirui Chen1*, Lu Ding2*, Xiaolin Huang1✉, Yonghua Xiong1,3✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, School of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330047, P. R. China.
2. Hypertension Research Institute of Jiangxi Province, Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330006, P. R. China.
3. Jiangxi-OAI Joint Research Institute, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330047, P. R. China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Chen X, Ding L, Huang X, Xiong Y. Tailoring noble metal nanoparticle designs to enable sensitive lateral flow immunoassay. Theranostics 2022; 12(2):574-602. doi:10.7150/thno.67184. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as signal reporters is a popular point-of-care diagnostic technique. However, given the weak absorbance of traditional 20-40 nm spherical AuNPs, their sensitivity is low, which greatly limits the wide application of AuNP-based LFIA. With the rapid advances in materials science and nanotechnology, the synthesis of noble metal nanoparticles (NMNPs) has enhanced physicochemical properties such as optical, plasmonic, catalytic, and multifunctional activity by simply engineering their physical parameters, including the size, shape, composition, and external structure. Using these engineered NMNPs as an alternative to traditional AuNPs, the sensitivity of LFIA has been significantly improved, thereby greatly expanding the working range and application scenarios of LFIA, particularly in trace analysis. Therefore, in this review, we will focus on the design of engineered NMNPs and their demonstration in improving LFIA. We highlight the strategies available for tailoring NMNP designs, the effect of NMNP engineering on their performance, and the working principle of each engineering design for enhancing LFIA. Finally, current challenges and future improvements in this field are briefly discussed.

Keywords: lateral flow immunoassay, noble metal nanoparticles, nanoparticle design, engineering