Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
Preparation of SERS Substrates on Silica-Coated Magnetic Microspheres

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Capture matrices for enhanced detection of chemical & biological agents

The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize U.S. Patent 7,879,625 (Preparation of SERS substrates on silica-coated magnetic microspheres).


Surfaced-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a technique that enhances photon scattering of molecules adsorbed on noble metal surfaces. It was initially used for material identification by detecting distinct light absorption signatures at metal interfaces both in electrochemical and gas-phase environments. Due to its reactivity and sensitivity it is now used in a broad range of applications from trace organic analysis to thin-layer chromatography. The SERS technique requires a substrate that can effectively bond to an analyte, however, conventional SERS substrates are limited by their detection capabilities, have a short lifespan, and can be costly to produce.

The Technology

SSC Pacific has developed a technology that addresses the limitations of conventional SERS by improving detection limits from parts-per-million (ppm) to parts-per-billion (ppb), allowing for the monitoring of analytes in real time and in-situ. The novel technique is composed of colloidal particles immobilized on the surface of a silica encapsulated magnetic microparticle. The entire structure is then silica encapsulated by binding to at least one functional siloxane group comprised of at least one chemical moiety for attracting and binding to analytes of interest. This method increases sensitivity, reliability, and overall surface longevity by providing a protective silica barrier, concentrating targeted analytes, and reducing the occurrence of substrate poisoning. Applications include the use in detection sensors for homeland security, force protection, and wherever the detection of biological and chemical agents in a gaseous or aqueous solution is needed.

Key Benefits

  • Increases sensitivity (ppb) and reliability of detected analyte(s)
  • Reduces substrate poisoning thereby increasing longevity
  • Provides a fresh SERS surface thereby addressing sensitivity, selectivity, and reversibility
  • Development Status

  • U.S. Patent issued: 7,879,625
  • Total R&D: $300K/3 years
  • DoD 5000 Series Technical Readiness Level 4: Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
  • For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email       
    SD 975, August 2011. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 10/25/2011 11:00 AM EST   Published