Project TitleRapid Detection of an Anthrax Biomarker by Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy
Track Code2004-102, 2006-092
Short Description

Highly sensitive biosensor for detection of anthrax-causing bacterium with field use capabilities

#sensor #biosensor #diagnostic #detection #healthcare #diagnostic


Northwestern researchers have created a surface-enhanced Raman biosensor for use in detecting and identifying Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming bacterium and dangerous pathogen that causes anthrax. B. subtilis spores, harmless simulants for B. anthracis, were detected using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) on silver film over nanosphere (AgFON) substrates. Calcium dipicolinate (CaDPA), a biomarker for Bacillus spores, was efficiently extracted by sonication in nitric acid and rapidly detected by SERS. Improved binding efficiency of the CaDPA adsorption is accomplished by using atomic layer deposition (ALD) to coat the AgFON surface with a layer of alumina, which also protects the underlying noble metal surface. The speed and sensitivity of this SERS sensor indicate its usefulness for the field analysis of other potentially harmful environmental agents as well. The sensing capabilities of this technology can be readily incorporated into a field-portable instrument, which enables a rapid, sensitive and portable detection protocol suitable for use by first responders.

Tagsresearch tool: portable device, SENSOR: biosensor, diagnostic: detection, healthcare: diagnostic
Posted DateApr 18, 2011 4:34 PM


Richard Van Duyne* 
Olga Lyandres 
Matthew Young 
Xiaoyu Zhang

Alyson Whitney

Jing Zhao

Jeffrey Elam


  •      Biosensor for microorganisms


  •            Efficient platform

  •            High sensitivity

  •            Rapid detection of microorganisms

  •            Readily compatible into a field-portable instrument


IP Status

Issued US patent number 8,628,727.

Contact Information

Vara Josyula, PhD

Invention Manager

(p) 847-491-4456