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Large molecules

Surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy has long been demonstrated to enable detection of ~ng/ml of proteins. The detection limit varies with the size of the protein and the binding affinity of the antibody. In many cases signal enhancement with a secondary antibody, often labeled with a nanoparticle or another large protein, is needed to achieve ng/ml detection limits. However, lower detection limits and reliable quantitation in complex matrices, such as serum, have eluded SPR sensors.

We are developing a lab-on-a-chip sensor for determination of protein biomarkers for heart attacks and strokes. Incorporated in the sensor are strategies to overcome many of the problems that have traditionally limited application of SPR spectroscopy to real-world samples:

Current Research

Our research interest is the development of in-situ chemical sensors for environmental, biomedical, and industrial process monitoring. Specifically, the research group has been concentrating on advancement of fiber optic surface plasmon resonance (SPR) Raman, and fluorescence sensors. In developing these sensors we meld instrumental design with advanced data analysis (Chemometrics) methods to achieve optimal instrumental performance. This research is driven by the realization that many measurement challenges – particularly problems involving analyte selectivity and sensitivity – are not best addressed by solely applying chemistry or physics solutions. These ‘physical’ solutions are often time, labor, and capital expensive. Instead, instrumental selectivity and sensitivity (and robustness) can often be enhanced by incorporating mathematical and statistical analysis of the collected data into the instrumental design.