The adoption of plasmonic nanomaterials in optical sensors, coupled with the advances in detection techniques, has opened the way for biosensing with single plasmonic particles. Single nanoparticle sensors offer the potential to analyse biochemical interactions at a single-molecule level, thereby allowing us to capture even more information than ensemble measurements. We introduce the concepts behind single nanoparticle sensing and how the localised surface plasmon resonances of these nanoparticles are dependent upon their materials, shape and size. Then we outline the different synthetic approaches, like citrate reduction, seed-mediated and seedless growth, that enable the synthesis of gold and silver nanospheres, nanorods, nanostars, nanoprisms and other nanostructures with tunable sizes. Further, we go into the aspects related to purification and functionalisation of nanoparticles, prior to the fabrication of sensing surfaces. Finally, the recent developments in single nanoparticle detection, spectroscopy and sensing applications are discussed.
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