IMPRINT: Development of SERS based ultra-sensitive, rapid, portable and field deployable platform for detection of pathogenic bacteria and Dengue virus

IIT researchers have collaborated with an industry partner to develop a new diagnostic tool that can detect Dengue virus and pathogenic bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli for point-of-care diagnostics.

The new tool will be based on Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), a technique that enhances Raman scattering by molecules adsorbed on rough metal surfaces or by nanostructures such as plasmonic-magnetic silica nanotubes.

The aim of the project is to develop a state-of-the-art SERS-based field-deployable handheld detection platform to detect early stage Dengue and its different serotypes as well as pathogenic bacterial infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

SERS provides a unique “molecular fingerprint” of virus/bacteria without any specific reagents. It does not require sophisticated instrumentation, specialized training and thus provides a framework for enhancing viral/bacterial diagnostics. Since virus and bacteria have unique surface protein and lipid profile, so they are capable of generating detectable characteristic Raman signals when their individual molecules are in contact with metal nanomaterials.

“The current available methods for identification of bacteria/virus such as biochemical test, PCR are time consuming and laborious. Our novel Ag nanorod based surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates fabricated by e-beam glancing angle deposition (GLAD) system will provide rapid and accurate detection of pathogenic bacteria and dengue virus. The method employed is industrially scalable and cost effective,” says principal investigator of the project J P Singh.