Abstract by Kylie Lytle
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Lowering SERS limit of Detection to Measure Insulin Levels
Type II Diabetes is diagnosed when blood glucose levels exceed a set limit. However, insulin levels begin to rise years before glucose levels do. Measuring insulin is difficult and expensive but could be used to diagnose diabetes years earlier than current methods. Raman spectroscopy is becoming popular as alternative method for medical diagnosis. Raman spectroscopy is a vibrational spectroscopic technique based on the inelastic scattering of light. Raman spectroscopy focuses on the fingerprint region of the vibrational spectra, allowing for identification of analytes. Surface Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a form of Raman which uses metallic nanoparticles to enhance the overall scattering effect, causing a stronger Raman signal. We explore the possibility to using SERS to measure insulin and other biological molecules. Our current efforts are focused on testing different methods of making SERS substrates which will lower the limit of detection down to biological levels. We have found that by suspending analyte in a colloidal solution of silver nanoparticles and evaporating the mixture on a hydrophobic surface we can greatly increase sensitivity.