Next on CSI: Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

New twist on powerful analytic method makes it much more useful

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 10:22 AM March 18, 2010

Scientists have developed a quick and dusty method for detecting trace quantities of unknown substances.

Described in the March 18 Nature, the new technique amounts to little more than sprinkling a layer of gold dust on the surface to be tested. Yet it will soon make one of science’s most powerful but unwieldy chemical analysis methods useful for detecting trace amounts of materials such as explosives, drugs and environmental contaminants, the researchers who invented it say.

“This really ...

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