Technology for Fingerprinting Drugs and Other Chemicals Shrunk Down to a Tiny Photonic Chip

Tiny photonic chip could fit comfortably within the tip of a finger.

As new infectious diseases emerge and spread, one of the best shots against novel pathogens is finding new medicines or vaccines. But before drugs can be used as potential cures, they have to be painstakingly screened for composition, safety and purity, among other things. Thus, there is an increasing demand for technologies that can characterize chemical compounds quickly and in real time.

Addressing this unmet need, researchers at Texas A&M University have now invented a new technology that can drastically downsize the apparatus used for Raman spectroscopy, a well-known technique that uses light to identify the molecular makeup of compounds.

“Raman benchtop setups can be up to a meter long depending on the level of spectroscopic resolution needed,” said Dr. Pao-Tai Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Materials Science

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