The Detection of Biomarkers Using SERS and Gold Nanoparticles
Sherina Dyrma, Wendy Vo, and N. E. Schlotter
Abstract: Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) is a technique that is being increasingly used for detection of molecular structures such as proteins, antigens, and drugs. This method has the advantage of being easily modified to be highly specific to biological systems, as well as requiring low amounts of biomarkers to procure data. Our research explores the detection of different biomarkers coupled to gold nanoparticle based structures that generate significant SERS signal intensity. Our approach makes use of antibody-antigen specificity and binding affinities, creating structures that generate signals proportional to the biomarker concentration. Gold nanoparticles, that are coated with antibodies specific to the biomarker of interest and strong Raman scattering molecules, are combined with flat gold substrates to generate a SERS system which significantly amplifies the signal related to the biomarker concentration. Work on a model system based on IgG and on the breast cancer biomarker HER2 is ongoing. Our goal is to optimize the data collection process through: (a) Minimizing random noise by studying blocking agent activity and (b) Enhancing signal by collecting data at different angles to optimize SERS signal strength.