Chemistry 2011.org
Chemistry2011.org
All About Chemistry... 2011 and beyond
molecules, Carbon nanotube

Related Stories

Carbon nanotube jungles created to better detect molecules

Nov. 6, 2013 — Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have developed a new method of using nanotubes to detect molecules at extremely low concentrations enabling trace detection of biological threats, explosives and drugs.

The joint research team, led by LLNL Engineer Tiziana Bond and ETH Scientist Hyung Gyu Park, are using spaghetti-like, gold-hafnium-coated carbon nanotubes (CNT) to amplify the detection capabilities in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).

SERS is a surface-sensitive technique that enhances the inelastic scattering of photons by molecules adsorbed on rough metal surfaces or by nanostructures.

Bond and her collaborators are using metal-coated nanotubes bunched together like a jungle canopy to amplify the signals of both the incident and Raman scattered light by exciting local electron plasmons.

Their real breakthrough, however, is discovering the use of an intermediate dielectric coating (hafnium) to block the quenching of the free electrons in the metal by the CNTs, allowing the nanotubes to function uninhibited. By preserving the electrons and enhancing the light through the use of nanotube jungles, the team is able to significantly increase the SERS' detection sensitivities in CNTs structures.

The hafnium coating enables the bunching of gold nanotubes that creates a thick canopy full of sensitive spots for detection. The nanotubes enable incident light to be trapped and focused at the numerous contact points and crevices, allowing the Raman-scattered light to pass through. This enables portable Raman devices to detect and identify specific airborne substances randomly.

"This is a very important discovery in our efforts to improve the use of SERS devices," Bond said. "We gained this valuable knowledge through multidisciplinary basic research and approaching the problem with a rational design."

Bond and Park hope their engineered material will eventually be used in portable devices to conduct on-site analysis of chemical impurities such as environmental pollutants or pharmaceutical residues in water. Other applications include the real-time point-of-care monitoring of physiological levels for the biomedical industry and fast screening of drugs and toxins for law enforcement.

"We are in the process of filing a patent for our new discovery," Bond said.

Share this story with your friends!

Social Networking

Please recommend us on Facebook, Twitter and more:

Other social media tools

Global Partners
Feedback

Tell us what you think of Chemistry 2011 -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?

About us

Chemistry2011 is an informational resource for students, educators and the self-taught in the field of chemistry. We offer resources such as course materials, chemistry department listings, activities, events, projects and more along with current news releases.

Events & Activities

Are you interested in listing an event or sharing an activity or idea? Perhaps you are coordinating an event and are in need of additional resources? Within our site you will find a variety of activities and projects your peers have previously submitted or which have been freely shared through creative commons licenses. Here are some highlights: Featured Idea 1, Featured Idea 2.

About you

Ready to get involved? The first step is to sign up by following the link: Join Here. Also don’t forget to fill out your profile including any professional designations.

Global Partners