Encapsulating Au nanoparticles within a shell of photo-cross-linked block copolymer surfactant dramatically improves the physical and chemical stability of the nanoparticles, particularly when they are applied as bioconjugates. Photocross-linkable block copolymer amphiphiles [polystyrene-co-poly(4-vinyl benzophenone)]-block-poly(acrylic acid) [(PS-co-PVBP)-b-PAA) and [poly(styrene)-co-poly(4-vinyl benzophenone)]-block-poly(ethylene oxide) [(PS-co-PVBP)-b-PEO] were assembled around Au nanoparticles ranging from 12 to 108 nm in diameter. UV irradiation cross-linked the PVBP groups on the polymer to yield particles that withstood extremes of temperature, ionic strength, and chemical etching. Streptavidin was attached to [PS-co-PVBP]-b-PAA-coated particles using the same noncovalent and covalent conjugation protocols used to bind biomolecules to divinylbenzene-cross-linked PS microspheres. We expect that these particles will be useful as plasmonic, highly light-scattering and light-absorbing analogs to fluorescently labeled PS nanospheres.