In this small business technology transfer research (STTR) program, Omega Optics and the University of Texas at Austin propose to develop a planar lightwave circuit based surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrometer for single molecule detection. The sensitivity of the SERS spectrometer comes from the 5-nm gap between gold nanowires, which can achieve 108 enhancement factor (EF) for the Raman scattering signals. Especially, these gold nanowires are precisely positioned in the resonant cavity by an exquisite nano-entity manipulation technology --- electrical tweezers, a technique with which one can freely move metallic nanowires to predefined positions. Thus the hot-spots for SERS are obtained by a repeatable and controllable manner. Additionally, the proposed on-chip SERS spectrometer is based on resonant cavity enhanced (RCE) polymer waveguides with extraordinary optical intensity enhancement. The resonant effect is capable of further increasing the sensitivity of the SERS by at least four orders of magnitude. With 1012 enhancement factor in total, the proposed on-chip SERS spectrometer is expected to achieve single-molecule-detection capability even for those with very small Raman scattering cross sections. Anticipated Benefits/Potential Commercial Applications of the Research or Development: The proposed planar lightwave circuit based SERS spectrometer will lead to the development of a new class of Raman sensing technique with extraordinarily high sensitivity and ease of use. It can find broad applications in biomedical research, chemical engineering, and environment monitoring. Plus, it can be used both in the laboratory and in the field.
In this small business technology transfer research (STTR) program, Omega Optics and the University of Texas at Austin propose to develop a planar lightwave circuit based surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrometer with 1012 sensitivity enhancement for single molecule detection.
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