We first began working with Diagnostic anSERS a few years ago when Sean Virgile began coming to the Dingman Center for advising. Since then, Sean has competed in Cupid’s Cup, become a Fearless Founder, and moved into M Square Research Park. Take a look at the latest press release from Diagnostic anSERS for an update on the company.
Diagnostic anSERS has introduced a groundbreaking SERS sensor that enables trace chemical detection for only a few dollars per test, a sensor that is poised to bring SERS into the mainstream.
SERS, or Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, enables measurement of a molecule’s uniquely identifying Raman “fingerprint” at trace levels. While Raman alone can only identify bulk materials, SERS enables the sample’s molecular fingerprint to be obtained at millions of times lower concentrations than would be possible using Raman alone.
By applying a sample to a SERS substrate (sensor) and measuring the fingerprint with a handheld spectrometer, molecular identification can be carried out at the parts per billion level in under a minute. Despite this incredible promise, SERS has been hamstrung by the high cost of commercially available SERS substrates, at $50-100 per disposable sensor.
P-SERS™ is the first SERS sensor that is both cost effective, at a few dollars per test, and highly sensitive, outperforming the $100 market leader by 10-100× in independent testing. While existing substrates are rigid sensors on silicon wafers, P-SERS™ substrates are flexible and can be used as dipsticks or surface swabs as well as a cost-effective alternative to existing silicon wafer substrates. Diagnostic anSERS is able to achieve this combination of low-cost and high sensitivity through a patent pending technique in which roll to roll ink-jet printing is used to precisely deposit special nanoparticle ink onto paper and other flexible support materials.
These easy-to-use sensors can be used for detection of a wide variety of molecules, including drugs, explosives, food contaminants and taggants for anti-counterfeiting. Custom sensors are available which can be optimized for detection of targets which are difficult to measure and/or require ultra-high sensitivity, such as biological markers. Tests which previously would have required samples being sent to centralized labs, with the consequent multi-day wait and high price tag, can now be performed on-site. Affordable access to this class of ultra-trace detection enables practical screening in a wide variety of applications.
P-SERS™ research was recently featured as the cover article in the prestigious analytical chemistry journal Analyst. In this article, the researchers demonstrated detection of malathion, an organophosphate (class of insecticides and nerve agents) at 413 picograms. They also demonstrated detection of heroin and cocaine at 9 and 15 nanograms, respectively. Notably, these dipsticks and surface swabs were shown to provide repeatable, quantitative measurements, reporting the amount of drug residue on the surface (not merely presence/absence).
Eric Hoppmann, co-founder of Diagnostic anSERS, said, “We have combined best-in-class detection performance with ease of use and a game changing price point. While P-SERS™ substrates are a drop in replacement for existing substrates, what’s more exciting to us is the ability to apply this technology to address applications which were previously infeasible.”
P-SERS™ premiered at SPIE DSS 2014, a global conference on sensing for defense, security, industry, healthcare and the environment, held at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD, on May 5-9 2014.
For more information about P-SERS™, including a technical white paper, please visit:http://www.diagnosticansers.com/technical/.