Nanophotonic Raman Spectroscopy for sensitive molecular fingerprinting

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Nanophotonic Raman Spectroscopy for sensitive molecular fingerprinting

Raman spectroscopy is rapidly emerging as an important methodology in the bio-pharma industry and as a powerful bio-analysis tool due to its inherent ability to probe vibrational modes and therefore, provide a structural fingerprint for uniquely identifying molecular components of the analyte. However, the intrinsically weak nature of Raman scattering typically requires complex instrumentation for accurate analysis, thus preventing more wide scale adaptation of this powerful method. The next major step in its evolution is the identification of novel strategies that can enable Raman signal enhancement on small scale devices that can be deployed at point-of-need or even used by individuals for personal diagnostics. Our team is engaged in development of such a platform, comprising of nanophotonic waveguides, and capable of intensifying the Raman signal by multiple orders of magnitude, while reducing the structural footprint to a single chip. This further opens the possibility of leveraging the powerful resources of the photonics toolbox to develop an integrated and compact Raman spectrometer.

In this master thesis topic, the student will be deeply involved in development of next generation of waveguide-based Raman spectroscopy for potential applications in focus areas like drug development and personalized medicine. The student will gain experience in all important aspects of research and development – from developing a theoretical and simulation framework to hands-on experimental design and implementation, and subsequent data analysis for validation of experimental results.
The main research objectives are as follows: 

  • Experimental characterization of performance and limitations of current generation of devices through necessary optical setup design and automation.
  • Improvement of existing theoretical and simulation models for enhanced understanding of experimental results, and thereby informing the evolution of the next generation of devices.
  • Developing new photonic designs and structures to incorporate advanced Raman techniques like surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and stimulated Raman spectroscopy (SRS)
     

Type of Project: Thesis

Master's degree: Master of Engineering Science

Master program: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology; Physics

Supervising scientists: For further information or for application, please contact Aadhar Jain (Aadhar.Jain@imec.be) and Pol Van Dorpe (pol.vandorpe@imec.be).

Only for self-supporting students

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