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J Biomed Opt. 2011 Jul;16(7):077007. doi: 10.1117/1.3600658.

Pterin detection using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy incorporating a straightforward silver colloid-based synthesis technique.

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  • 1Trinity College Dublin, Semiconductor Photonics Group, School of Physics, Dublin 2, Ireland. Ciaran.smyth5@gmail.com


Optical techniques toward the realization of sensitive and selective biosensing platforms have received considerable attention in recent times. Techniques based on interferometry, surface plasmon resonance, and waveguides have all proved popular, while spectroscopy in particular offers much potential. Raman spectroscopy is an information-rich technique in which the vibrational frequencies reveal much about the structure of a compound, but it is a weak process and offers poor sensitivity. In response to this problem, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has received much attention, due to significant increases in sensitivity instigated by bringing the sample into contact with an enhancing substrate. Here we discuss a facile and rapid technique for the detection of pterins using SERS-active colloidal silver suspensions. Pterins are a family of biological compounds that are employed in nature in color pigmentation and as facilitators in metabolic pathways. In this work, small volumes of xanthopterin, isoxanthopterin, and 7,8-dihydrobiopterin have been examined while adsorbed to silver colloids. Limits of detection have been examined for both xanthopterin and isoxanthopterin using a 10-s exposure to a 12 mW 532 nm laser, which, while showing a trade-off between scan time and signal intensity, still provides the opportunity for the investigation of simultaneous detection of both pterins in solution.

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