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Record ID: 251
Award(s): Excellence in Research Mentoring
Student Major: Chemistry ACS, Physics
Project Advisor: Pietro Strobbia
Abstract: Modern Raman spectroscopy has made huge strides in smaller and more compact units, making the possibility of portable Raman systems a feasible idea. Our goal is to develop a system that can be used in the field for convenient analysis of multiple water samples. In this project, we set up a Raman system capable of collecting signal from a fiber sensor. LabVIEW was used to control a Raman spectrometer, a laser and Thorlabs shutter, creating a simplified user interface capable of monitoring a live spectrum output as well as measuring the optical response of several sensors in succession. This system uses Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS). SERS offers many advantages over other optical readouts (e.g., sensitivity and multiplexing capabilities) and can be used for in situ (near or at sample collection site) analysis using aptamer-based fiber optic sensors. We are currently optimizing design elements of aptamer-based sensors on fiber optic substrates. Fiber based sensors show great potential for detection of environmental contaminants because they can be placed directly in a water sample and their optical response measured using a portable Raman spectrometer. This project aims to move aptamer sensors closer to in situ applications, with the goal of developing field-ready sensors capable of detecting environmental contaminants.