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Characterization of Acute Exposure to Toxic Metals in Military Environments and Personnel

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2018,31 Aug 2019

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Vanderbilt University NASHVILLE United States

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Military personnel in modern conflicts are exposed to toxic metals from embedded fragments generated by explosive devices and inhalednear burn pits. Metal levels among veterans are centrally monitored, but to truly establish the impact of toxic metals on military personnelshealth it is necessary to establish the peak exposure. No device exists to simultaneously detect and quantify multiple toxic metals inbiological and environmental samples near the time of peak exposure. We hypothesize that a zinc oxide nanowire substrate decorated withgold nanoparticles and decorated with chelating ligands can sensitively detect toxic metals via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopySERS. A patterned bed of ZnO nanowires will be grown and decorated with gold nanoparticles. Crown ethers identified based onselectivity for multiple toxic metals will functionalize the nanostructure. Sensitivity will be measured by parallel Raman studies of eachselected ion coordinated with each crown ether, with and without plasmonic enhancement. Specificity will be assessed by SERS of eachtoxic metal in the presence of distractors. Selectivity of the crown ligands will be assessed by spectral analysis in the presence ofdistractors. Spectral analysis will also identify the optimal crown ethers for simultaneous, multiplexed sensing of the chosen toxic metals.Sensors in this optimized configuration will be fabricated and experimentally validated against predicted performance.

Subject Categories:

  • Metallurgy and Metallography
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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