Detecting the fingerprints of harmful molecules noninvasively via black silicon

June 20, 2018, Far Eastern Federal University
Alexander Kuchmizhak in the laboratory, FEFU. Credit: FEFU

Scientists of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in cooperation with colleagues from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Australian and Lithuanian Universities have improved the technique of ultrasensitive nonperturbing spectroscopic identification of molecular fingerprints.

A group of physicists experimentally confirmed that molecular fingerprints of toxic, explosive, polluting and other dangerous substances could be reliably detected and identified by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) using (b-Si) . The results of the work are published in the authoritative scientific journal Nanoscale.

"When detecting the smallest molecules using SERS spectroscopy their interaction with the nanostructured substrate—the platform allowing ultrasensitive identification—is crucial," the head of research team Alexander Kuchmizhak, Ph.D., reported. Alexander is a researcher of the Department of Theoretical and Nuclear Physics of the School of Natural Sciences of the FEFU. He also added: "Currently noble metals-based substrates are chemically active and as a result, they distort the characteristic molecules signals."

"Due to its special morphology black silicon significantly enhances the signal from the wanted. This nanomaterial doesn't support catalytic conversion of the analyte as it could be in the case of the metal-based substrates applying. The black silicon- based substrate is unique: being absolutely chemically inert and non-invasive it could support a strong and non-distorted signal," says Alexander Kuchmizhak.

The needle-shaped surface structure of black silicon where needles are made of single-crystal silicon. The nanomaterial is absolutely chemically inert, non-invasive, and could support a strong and non-distorted signal Credit: FEFU

The substrate can be fabricated by using the easy-to-implement scalable technology of plasma etching, thus has good prospects for commercial implementation. Such inexpensive non-metallic substrates with high accuracy of detection can be promising for routine SERS applications, where the non-invasiveness is of high importance.

Explore further: Biosensors: Sweet and simple

More information: E. Mitsai et al, Chemically non-perturbing SERS detection of a catalytic reaction with black silicon, Nanoscale (2018). DOI: 10.1039/C8NR02123F

Related Stories

Biosensors: Sweet and simple

April 14, 2011

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a highly sensitive and versatile analytical tool that is widely used in biosensing applications. In conventional Raman spectroscopy, molecules are detected by their characteristic ...

Silver nanoparticles take spectroscopy to new dimension

January 2, 2018

As medicine and pharmacology investigate nanoscale processes, it has become increasingly important to identify and characterize different molecules. Raman spectroscopy, a technique that leverages the scattering of laser light ...

Recommended for you

In colliding galaxies, a pipsqueak shines bright

February 20, 2019

In the nearby Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy, M51b, two supermassive black holes heat up and devour surrounding material. These two monsters should be the most luminous X-ray sources in sight, but a new study using ...

Research reveals why the zebra got its stripes

February 20, 2019

Why do zebras have stripes? A study published in PLOS ONE today takes us another step closer to answering this puzzling question and to understanding how stripes actually work.

When does one of the central ideas in economics work?

February 20, 2019

The concept of equilibrium is one of the most central ideas in economics. It is one of the core assumptions in the vast majority of economic models, including models used by policymakers on issues ranging from monetary policy ...

Correlated nucleons may solve 35-year-old mystery

February 20, 2019

A careful re-analysis of data taken at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has revealed a possible link between correlated protons and neutrons in the nucleus and a 35-year-old mystery. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.