Progress Toward a Vacuum-Ultraviolet Raman Spectrometer to Detect Pathogens
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRapid detection and identification of novel viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, are critical to treat, isolate, or hospitalize those infected; and ultimately, to curb the spread of the virus. Diagnostic assays, such as quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), are considered the gold standard for testing. However, these methods are labor-intensive and/or involve creating probe molecules specific to the virus. We propose Raman spectroscopy as an alternative method of detection, because samples can be efficiently used with a simple spectrometer configuration with measurements collected on the order of seconds, eliminating the drawbacks of RT-qPCR. Specifically, we are developing a vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) Raman spectrometer using an incoherent excitation source that emits hydrogen Lyman-α (HLA) at 121.57 nm. Since HLA Raman spectroscopy has not been demonstrated in literature to date, this paper serves to justify the use of an HLA Raman excitation source. The main question posed throughout this work is, “Is achieving detectable Raman signal possible by using a 121.57 nm light source?” Through a literature review of other Raman spectroscopy work and our own experiments relating to source and camera optimization, it is concluded that achieving detectable Raman signal at 121.57 nm is indeed possible. In the future, we expect to produce consistent Raman spectra in samples. To achieve that goal, further efforts are needed in terms of maximizing source power and minimizing camera noise. Overall, we expect that HLA Raman spectroscopy will transform diagnostic medicine and several other industries through its powerful capabilities of detecting real-time infections and important health markers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College