Raman spectroscopy

Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) Based Method to Detect Counterfeit Drugs in Developing Countries

Prof. Jon Camden, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (UND)

The discovery and use of Artemisinin to effectively treat malaria has had a tremendous impact on tropical medicine and has even led to Tu Youyou receiving the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Despite the effectiveness of this drug, especially when combined with additional drugs such as lumefantrine, progress in the treatment of malaria has been hindered by the production of counterfeit drugs. Various colorimetric and spectroscopic methods of detection have been developed to identify counterfeit medications, however the fluorescent properties of the drug molecules have made selective identification of drugs with similar structure difficult. We therefore propose a surface-enhanced Raman scattering based method for detection of counterfeit drugs, as this technique gives specific structural information through distinct vibrational bands of the molecule and often minimalizes the effect fluorescence has on the measurement.  

In the realization of SERS detection of counterfeit medications students will gain experience in the synthesis of simple nanoparticles as SERS substrates, analysis of data using various computer programs, and in operating lasers and obtaining spectral data from an inverted microscope system. Background in physical and analytical chemistry is recommended for students interested in this project.