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PHYS 8990 Topic

Biosensor Design and Application

Yiping Zhao

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a powerful analytical tool for chemical and biological detection. The practical application of the remarkable analytical sensitivity of SERS has not been widely accepted as a viable diagnostic technique due to the difficulty in preparing robust substrates of the correct surface morphology that provide maximum SERS enhancements. Recently we have demonstrated that the Ag nanorod (AgNR) array substrates fabricated by oblique angle deposition method can serve as excellent SERS substrate. Those substrates can be used as a rapid and sensitive detections of virus and bacteria. Our results have demonstrated that i) SERS can detect surface-bound viruses; ii) SERS can detect extremely low concentrations of surface-bound viruses; iii) SERS can distinguish between different viruses based on their Raman spectra; iv) SERS can detect viruses in biological media, and v) SERS can differentiate between different strains of the same virus. ( The goal of this project is to develop this SERS technique into a practical point-of-care diagnostic technique for real clinic applications. Therefore, we are focusing on:

  1. Multiplexing sensor development for infectious diseases: based on surface enhanced Raman scattering and portable Raman instrument, we are interested to develop a point of care (POC) sensors that can simultaneously detect multiple viruses. This project requires additional training in optical engineering, statistical method development, instrument design, and the student is willing to work with scientists from Infectious Diseases.
  2. Portable PCR development: based on the principle of polymerized chain reaction (PCR) and nanomaterial principle, the project seeks to develop a portable PCR system for POC applications.
  3. Colorimetric sensors development: based on the diffraction principle or other optical principle, used the advance fabrication techniques or biomimic materials to develop biological sensors that change color.
  4. Magneto-optical sensors: using the magneto-optical Kerr effect, or other optical rotation or circular dichroism principle to develop structural sensitive sensors.
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