Research in the Sharma lab was recently highlighted in an online Spectroscopy newsletter for using SERS and SESORS to detect neurotransmitters and probe subsurface layers through the skull. She describes the advantages of these techniques and how they are used in biological applications.
Sharma explains, “SERS is advantageous in that it provides very rapid sample analysis time versus other techniques including HPLC, mass spectrometry (MS), and fluorescence. SERS also involves little to no sample preparation, no necessary labeling, and results in a “molecular fingerprint” for each analyte even for analytes with very similar chemical structures, making identification more straightforward.”
The research goal is to “establish limits of detection for various neurotransmitters that are commonly known to be involved in specific neurological diseases and then to detect these neurotransmitters in the brain.”