Abstract by Shane Drake
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Enhanced Insulin Detection Limit via SERS by Hydrophilic/Hydrophobic Self-assembly Technique
Diabetes is a widespread disorder caused by irregularities in blood glucose levels due to insulin production or resistance. Currently, the methods used to measure insulin levels are time consuming and expensive. Additionally, the reproducibility of monitoring insulin via glucose levels is poor. Fasting levels for insulin are ~170 pM in humans, which is below the detection limit of most Raman spectrometers. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is an emerging technique for the detection of low-concentration biological analytes and chemicals. In this preliminary work, phenylalanine (Phe) was used as a proxy for insulin, and a 50 nM SERS limit of detection (LOD) was obtained using silver nanoparticles (AgNP) as the enhancement medium. To improve the LOD, a polar/nonpolar surface was used to compact the Phe and AgNP into closer proximity. This inexpensive detection setup may allow blood insulin levels to be checked on a clinical visit-by-visit basis.