“Breaking New Ground: Plasmonic-Based Detection of Piperidine in Environmental Monitoring”

The proliferation of pharmaceutical Plasmonic waste and contaminants has emerged as a pressing global issue, especially concerning the safety of drinking water and food. Tackling this critical concern head-on, a recent study conducted by researchers from Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials has yielded a groundbreaking advancement: the development of a highly sensitive plasmonic-based detector designed specifically for identifying harmful piperidine residue in water.

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Published in the esteemed journal Environmental Science: Nano, the study focuses on the detection of piperidine, a potent molecule extensively used in pharmaceutical and food additive industries. Despite its widespread application, piperidine poses significant health hazards to both humans and animals due to its toxic nature. Detecting even trace amounts of piperidine is imperative for safeguarding the integrity of drinking water and food supplies.

The innovative plasmonic substrate devised at Bar-Ilan University comprises triangular cavities etched into a silver thin film, shielded by a 5-nanometer layer of silicon dioxide. This unique design endows the detector with unparalleled sensitivity to piperidine, enabling the detection of minute concentrations in water samples.

Mohamed Hamode, a Ph.D. student at Bar-Ilan’s Department of Chemistry, spearheaded the development of this dime-sized device in collaboration with Dr. Elad Segal. Employing a focused ion microscope, Hamode meticulously etched nanometer-sized apertures onto the metal surface. These intricately crafted apertures, smaller than the wavelength of visible light, intensify the electrical field on the surface, resulting in localized light concentration within minuscule areas. This enhancement facilitates the identification of low concentrations of molecules previously undetectable with conventional optical probes.

The plasmonic substrate’s confined and intensified electromagnetic field offers a highly efficient alternative to conventional substrates utilized in Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). This breakthrough paves the way for the development of cost-effective and portable Raman devices, enabling expedited and affordable analysis.

Prof. Adi Salomon, a senior researcher at Bar-Ilan’s Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, lauded the study’s significance, highlighting its potential to revolutionize environmental monitoring. Leveraging nano-patterned metallic surfaces, the researchers have demonstrated the detection of piperidine at low concentrations using economical optics, offering a promising solution for environmental analytical setups.

The study’s findings underscore the transformative potential of plasmonic-based detectors in the realm of environmental monitoring, particularly in the detection of pharmaceutical waste and contaminants. Mohamed Hamode is slated to present this groundbreaking innovation at an upcoming international conference on microscopy in Italy, further showcasing the study’s far-reaching impact.

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