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Raman effect to detect fraudulent paintings, diseases, chemical weapons

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New York: An international research team has developed nanotechnology that harnesses surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to detect amounts of molecules in fraudulent paintings, diseases, chemical weapons and more.

Led by University at Buffalo (UB) engineers, the new method makes SERS simple and more affordable.

“The technology we’re developing – a universal substrate for SERS – is a unique and, potentially, revolutionary feature,” said lead author Qiaoqiang Gan from UB.

“It allows us to rapidly identify and measure chemical and biological molecules using a broadband nanostructure that traps wide range of light,” Gan added.

The universal substrate can trap a wide range of wavelengths and squeeze them into very small gaps to create a strongly enhanced light field.

“It acts similar to a skeleton key. Instead of needing all these different substrates to measure Raman signals excited by different wavelengths, you’ll eventually need just one. Just like a skeleton key that opens many doors,” co-author Nan Zhang said.

Traditional substrates, or the silicon surfaces on which liquid samples are deposited, are typically designed for only a very narrow range of wavelengths.

This is problematic because different substrates are needed if scientists want to use a different laser to test the same molecules.

In turn, this requires more chemical molecules and substrates, increasing costs and time to perform the test. The new technology has a wide range of applications.

“The ability to detect even smaller amounts of chemical and biological molecules could be helpful with biosensors that are used to detect cancer, malaria, HIV and other illnesses,” the researchers said.

“This could be helpful detecting forged pieces of art as well as restoring ageing pieces of art,” Gan said.

“Also, the technology could improve scientists’ ability to detect trace amounts of toxins in the air, water or other spaces that are causes for health concerns. And it could aid in the detection of chemical weapons,” he added.

The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces. (IANS)

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Russian Chemists Develop Unique Nano-grenades To Fight Diseases

To create the nanoparticles, the team experimented with photosensitive nanomaterial technology and a chemical 'switch' method to create the nanoparticles

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Chemists develop unique disease-fighting 'nano-grenades'. VOA

Russian chemists have developed a unique “transforming nanoparticle” that can help fight cancer and other diseases.

Professor Ekaterina Skorb and her team from ITMO University in St. Petersburg created hollow nanoparticles with a covering of polymer filaments and granules of titanium oxide and silver, the Sputnik reported on Friday.

When illuminated with an infrared laser, the structure of the nanoparticle collapses from heat and oxygen, which releases the particle’s contents.

In the study, published in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, the team tested out their nanoparticles on bacteria whose DNA was modified to glow when molecules came into contact with artificial sugars which were injected into the nanoparticles.

After illuminating these ‘nano-grenades’ with an infrared laser, the sugars escaped the nanoparticles’ membranes, lighting up the bacteria and proving the method’s effectiveness.

The tab was detailed in the journal Nano Energy. Wikimedia Commons
When illuminated with an infrared laser, the structure of the nanoparticle collapses from heat and oxygen, which releases the particle’s contents. Wikimedia Commons

Importantly, neither the nanoparticles nor their structural collapse affected the viability of the bacteria’s cells.

According to Skorb, the ease with which infrared radiation passes through the human body means that the use of such nanoparticles to fight cancerous tumors or various infections will be possible in virtually any part of the body.

“This area of research is interesting not only from the perspective of the localised delivery of medicines, but also for the creation of a computer in which biological molecules can be used instead of silicon chips. This will pave the way for high-precision control of chemical processes, ‘smart’ medicines and the ability to control molecular machines,” Skorb said in a statement from Russian Science Foundation, Sputnik reported.

Also Read- NASA is Concerned Over The Strains of Toilet Microbes on ISS

To create the nanoparticles, the team experimented with photosensitive nanomaterial technology and a chemical ‘switch’ method to create the nanoparticles.

It consists of titanium dioxide nanoparticles which can split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms when exposed to light. When placed in a solution of organic compounds, the oxygen produced begins to interact with molecules, changing the acid-base balance.  (IANS)