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January 6, 2016

New sensing technology developed

The new nanotechnology that promises to make surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy simpler and more affordable consists of a thin film of silver or aluminum that acts as a mirror and a dielectric layer of silica or alumina. The dielectric separates the mirror with tiny metal nanoparticles randomly spaced at the top of a substrate.

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SERS is a sensing technique used to identify chemical and biological molecules in a wide range of fields. It is used commercially but not widely because the materials required to perform the sensing are consumed upon use; are relatively expensive; and are complicated to fabricate.

A new nanotechnology that promises to make surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) simpler and more affordable, developed by an international team led by University at Buffalo (UB) engineers, will improve the ability to detect trace amounts of molecules in diseases, chemical warfare agents, fraudulent paintings, environmental contaminants and more.

"The technology were developing -- a universal substrate for SERS -- is a unique and potentially revolutionary feature. It allows us to rapidly identify and measure chemical and biological molecules using a broadband nanostructure that traps a wide range of light," said Qiaoqiang Gan, a UB assistant professor of electrical engineering and the studys lead author.

The National Science Foundation supported the research through a grant (CBET 14-45934) to develop a real-time, in-vivo biosensing system.

To learn more, see the UB news story New sensing technology could improve our ability to detect diseases, fraudulent art, chemical weapons and more.(Date image taken: May 2015; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Jan. 6, 2016)


Credit: Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo

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