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The current COVID-19 pandemic urges the extremely sensitive and prompt detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Here, we present a Human Angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 (ACE2)-functionalized gold “virus traps” nanostructure as an extremely sensitive SERS biosensor, to selectively capture and rapidly detect S-protein expressed coronavirus, such as the current SARS-CoV-2 in the contaminated water, down to the single-virus level. Such a SERS sensor features extraordinary 106- fold virus enrichment originating from high-affinity of ACE2 with S protein as well as “virus-traps” composed of oblique gold nanoneedles, and 109- fold enhancement of Raman signals originating from multicomponent SERS effects. Furthermore, the identification standard of virus signals is established by machine-learning and identification techniques, resulting in an especially low detection limit of 80 copies mL− 1 for the simulated contaminated water by SARS-CoV-2 virus with complex circumstance as short as 5 min, which is of great significance for achieving real-time monitoring and early warning of coronavirus. Moreover, here-developed method can be used to establish the identification standard for future unknown coronavirus, and immediately enable extremely sensitive and rapid detection of novel virus.


This work was originally published in Nano-Micro Letters, available at

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