An Advanced SERS Water Monitor for Chemical and Biological Analytes

Period of Performance: 06/07/2000 - 05/17/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

EIC Laboratories, Inc.
Principal Investigator


The Joint Service Agent Water Monitor (JSAWM) has several very challenging operational requirements for detecting and monitoring chemical and biological warfare (CBW) contaminants in military water supplies. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) can provide highly specific spectroscopic "fingerprints" of molecules adsorbed onto certain roughened metal surfaces. Recent results at EIC and elsewhere indicate that SERS can be used for ppb level down to single molecule detection, that it can be used to identify chemicals in complex mixtures, and that it can also be used to detect and differentiate bacteria. The overall goal of this program is to develop portable SERS modules that take advantage of these capabilities, leading to a truly universal JSAWM instrument. Phase I will seek to determine the analytical figures of merit of SERS, comparing several types of SERS substrates with respect to detection of characteristic chemical and biological agent analogs in water. A Phase I goal is to demonstrate the required detection limits of at least two CBW analytes. The military has a requirement for >20,000 JSAWM installations. Even larger markets exist for on-line and batch-type government, municipal and industrial water pollution control systems.