Ultra-sensitive Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Substrates Patterned by Diatom Frustules

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Background of Invention


Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has been widely investigated as an analytical tool for detecting various biological and chemical molecules with single molecular sensitivity due to the strong electric fields induced by plasmonic resonances. Even though an enhancement factors as large as 1014 has been reported by comparing the measures SERS cross-section of a molecule in the hot-spot to a typical Raman scattering cross-section, controlling the location and density of such hot-spots remains a major challenge for reliable SERS sensing. Currents practices use metallic nanoparticles near or inside dielectric microcavities that form hybrid photonic-plasmonic modes, which increase the quality-factors and the local electric field for SERS. Decorating the dielectric ring resonators and photonic crystals with metallic nanoparticles is costly and fabrication is complex for particular applications such as point-of-care and disposable sensors. Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a technique for using diatom frustules and coatings comprised of a metal film or metal nanoparticles attached by a linker to create an inexpensive source for photonic crystal-like structures to be used for applications such as SERS testing.


Technology Description


This technology is a SERS substrate made of diatom frustules coated in a metal film or metal nanoparticles attached to the frustule surface via a linker peptide. The film or nanoparticle surface is further functionalized with peptides specific to the application which selectively bind a target molecule or molecules. When bound with the target analyte and exposed to laser light, this technology provides extremely sensitive detection with high specificity.




  • Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)
  • Medical and environmental sensing applications requiring high sensitivity and specificity


Features & Benefits


  • Inexpensive source for photonic crystal-like structures
  • Enhanced SERS signals
  • Reduction of excitation laser power
  • Reduced integration time for high-throughput optical sensing applications




This technology has been successfully tested and is ready for collaborative development opportunities.

Patent Cooperation Treaty Application No. US2014/14286

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
David Dickson
IP & Licensing Manager
Oregon State University
Alan Wang
Gregory Rorrer
Biological & Environmental Engineering
Materials Science
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