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

Engineers produce smallest 3-D transistor yet

December 10, 2018

Researchers from MIT and the University of Colorado have fabricated a 3-D transistor that's less than half the size of today's smallest commercial models. To do so, they developed a novel microfabrication technique that modifies ...

New traffic rules in 'Graphene City'

December 6, 2018

In the drive to find new ways to extend electronics beyond the use of silicon, physicists are experimenting with other properties of electrons, beyond charge. In work published today (Dec 7) in the journal Science, a team ...

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.