New Mexico Patent of the Month – June 2024

Armonica Technologies, Inc., an early stage medtech company, has developed a cutting-edge enhancement structure for use in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and surface-enhanced fluorescence-based analysis. This advanced structure promises to significantly boost the sensitivity and accuracy of molecular detection, a crucial leap forward for fields ranging from medical diagnostics to material science.

Raman scattering – also known as the Raman effect – is the inelastic scattering of photons by matter. This scattering means there is an energy between the material and energy of the scattered photon. Based on this principle, SERS is a sensitive diagnostic technology which has extreme chemical specificity which allows scientists to study and observe biomolecules, even when at low abundance.

The core innovation lies in the meticulous design of nanoscale metal-insulator-metal (MIM) structures, which are arranged on a dielectric substrate. These MIM structures, made from metals like gold, silver, and aluminum, are designed to optimize the electromagnetic fields at the nanoscale, crucial for enhancing Raman signals. By incorporating dielectric adhesion layers between the substrate and the MIM structures, Armonica ensures robust attachment and minimizes energy loss, a common issue in conventional designs.

One of the standout features of this enhancement structure is the use of additional dielectric layers with a tilted orientation around the MIM structures. These layers, made from materials such as silicon dioxide or aluminum oxide, further enhance the electromagnetic field localization, boosting single-molecule detection capabilities. The precise tuning of these layers’ thickness and orientation ensures maximum performance, significantly improving the sensitivity of Raman and fluorescence-based analyses.

This innovative design also includes elliptical and circular-shaped MIM structures, which can be adjusted to match specific Raman pump and Stokes wavelengths. Such versatility allows for tailored applications, enhancing the structure’s utility across various analytical scenarios. The strategic arrangement and material choice of these components ensure that the enhancement structure delivers unparalleled signal amplification, making it an invaluable tool for researchers and industry professionals.

Armonica Technologies’ enhancement structure represents a significant advancement in SERS and fluorescence-based technologies. By addressing key limitations of traditional methods, this invention opens new possibilities for high-precision molecular analysis, paving the way for more accurate and efficient diagnostic tools and scientific research methodologies.

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