Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jianfeng Cai, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Xiao Li, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Li-June Ming, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julianne Harmon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chuanhai Cao, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Humberto Rodriguez Gutierrez, Ph.D.


Raman Spectroscopy, Fe, Alzheimer's Disease, Metallo-antibiotics, Structure, Function


Raman spectroscopy provides characteristic peaks of the target molecules that can be observed with appropriate laser, spectrometer and detector. These characteristic peaks can reveal ‘fingerprint’ information of a molecule even in a myriad of cases and combinations. It makes Raman spectroscopy a highly sensitive and selective analytical technique. Raman spectroscopy has a variety of chemical, environmental and biological applications. In this dissertation, modified Raman method are applied in life sciences and pharmaceutical studies.

The major challenge against development of Raman spectroscopy is how to improve the intensity of Raman signal. Surface Enhance Raman Scattering (SERS) and resonance Raman(RR) are utilized for conquer this obstacle. In SERS technique, Raman signal is enhanced by introducing metal surface. SERS has a great potential for trace molecular detection since it’s sensitive enough to detect a single molecule. In RR, wavelength is carefully chosen to overlap with (or very near to) an electronic transition of a target molecule. With such overlap, Raman intensity can be increased by factors of 102-106, thus detection limit of target molecule can be significantly decreased. SERS and RR are applied for trace bio-marker detection and bio-system analysis in this study.

In the first chapter, the history, principles and applications of SERS and RR are introduced. Second chapter emphases on instrumental information and experimental methods of the techniques were applied in this study. The third chapter focuses on establishing novel SERS method to detect Alzheimer’s disease related biomarker, melatonin. A novel SERS substrate, Fe3O4/Ag nanostructures is developed, and SERS experimental conditions, such as aggregating agents and pH, are optimized to achieve the most sensitive detection of melatonin. In the fifth chapter, resonance Raman is served as an important analytical tool to identify metal binding and structure-activity relationship of metalloantibiotic, bacitracin. In the last chapter, Raman spectroscopy are applied in material science. Two solar cell materials, regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) films and Cu2ZnSnSe4 are characterized by Raman spectroscopy.