Patricia Gisbert Quilis

OPTICAL DETECTION AND STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF DNA VIA DIRECT SURFACE-ENHANCED RAMAN SCATTERING

A novel approach based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for the label-free optical detection and structural analysis of nucleic acids is implemented in this dissertation. The method relies on the use of positively-charged silver nanoparticles as plasmonic substrates for SERS analysis of DNA in solution. This strategy is successfully applied for the sensitive detection of clinically relevant point mutations in the K-Ras gene, which are routinely screened for diagnostic purposes, especially in colorectal cancer. Along this study, the impact of the cationic nanoparticles on the structural features of the interacting DNA molecules is extensively investigated.

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