Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory E. Triplett

Second Advisor

Dr. Lane Carasik

Third Advisor

Dr. Dmitry Pestov

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jessika Rojas

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Joao Soares


This work centers on the development and the down-selection of nano-manufactured devices to be used in conjunction with Raman spectroscopy for probing a branched chain amino acid. The nano-manufactured devices integrate plasmonic nanoantennas for the purpose of amplifying molecular fingerprints, which are otherwise difficult to detect, through Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). Plasmonic nanostructures can be utilized for a variety of biomedical and biochemical applications to detect the characteristic fingerprint provided by Raman Spectroscopy. The nano-manufactured devices create an electric field that amplifies minute perturbations and raises the signal above background noise. This may provide a deeper understanding of signal transduction, which is a biochemical reaction, and its relationship with diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. This work utilized simulations and fabrication of several different plasmonic substrates to enhance Raman signaling for a dilute amino acid solution of L-valine. Additionally, this work sought to demonstrate the feasibility of enhancement extending beyond the surface of the plasmonic substrates tested. Chapter 1 provides an overview of signal transduction and the motivation behind the enhancement of dilute L-valine. Chapter 2 presents the different simulations performed in order to minimize fabrication optimization time, simulate theoretical enhancement factor, and explore its dependency on the nanoantenna geometry and distance from the surface of the substrate. Chapters 3 and 4 covers fabrication parameters and studies performed to enable fabrication optimization. Chapter 5 provides results from different 2 plasmonic substrates, including the bowtie nanoantenna plasmonic substrate, and reports the potential enhancement. To conclude, Chapter 6 summarizes the work and discusses future steps. Appendices A and B contain simulation and fabrication steps and parameters, respectively.


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