(Photonics.com) University at Buffalo researchers have developed a chemical sensing chip that boasts a range of potential applications, from the detection of illicit substances and dangerous materials, to counterfeit prevention. The chip, which relies on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), supports incorporation into hand-held sensor devices and approached quantum-limit sensing capabilities — a challenge for many conventional SERS chips — in testing.
Qiaocqiang Gan, a professor of electrical engineering, led the team that introduced the chip. The team’s work builds on a previous advance, in which scientists in Gan’s laboratory created a chip that demonstrated the ability to trap light at the edges of gold and silver nanoparticles.
An individual chemical’s light scattering signature is not replicated in other chemicals, meaning the scattering technology could be used in hand-held devices to detect, for example, drugs in blood, breath, urine, and other biological samples.
‘There is a great need for portable and cost-effective chemical sensors in many areas, especially drug abuse,’ said Professor Qiaoqiang Gan.
Researchers from the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, in China, and KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology), in Saudi Arabia, contributed to the latest work.

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