DS0305 -

Design of tailored multifunctional nanoporous materials: towards drugs detection coupling adsorption properties and Raman spectroscopy – DOMTOM

Submission summary

The detection and assay of drugs and their metabolites at low concentrations in biologic matrices is a major societal issue and a major challenge in the analytical area due to the strong demand in fields such as pharmacology, toxicology, forensics, doping. At present time, this detection is performed using immunoanalysis and chromatographic techniques that have both their strengths and weaknesses. In this way, the analytical technique that is low-cost, rapid, simple, specific and highly sensitive does not exist yet. Raman spectroscopy has been envisaged for that purpose as it is a rapid, simple and low cost technique and it is also specific as it can discern compounds with similar structures. Despite all these positive aspects, Raman spectroscopy has been considered to be more useful for structural analysis than for ultrasensitive detection due to the extremely small cross section for Raman scattering. This main bottleneck was overcome with the discovery in 1977 of SERS effect that corresponds to a Raman signal enhancement observed when Raman-active molecules are adsorbed on “nanostructured” metal surfaces. Even if a lot of compounds in wide concentration ranges were studied using SERS effect, the design of efficient and flexible nanostructured substrates for SERS detection is still one of the main challenges to be achieved to ensure a highly reproducible and large enhancement factor before the technique can be widely applied. However, even if this high level of control at the materials scale is reached, only one side of the problem is solved since the thermodynamic parameters of the interaction between the targeted molecule and the material is not completely studied and understood.
In this way, we propose an innovative research project that will permit to achieve this breakthrough. It consists in the elaboration via a new synthesis procedure of tailored and multifunctional Ag and Au-porous nanocomposites and in their use for the detection of drugs coupling the study of the adsorption properties with the Raman response. The highly challenging objectives of DOM TOM project are the understanding of mechanisms allowing the control of the Raman response of a drug adsorbed on porous nanocomposite and the use of this knowledge to design multifunctional materials that will permit to create a new analytical method for drugs detection.
We propose, to reach our objectives, an original scientific approach based on four successive steps:
1/ / the elaboration of tailored materials in order to control the adsorption process to yield to a highly reproducible and unambiguous drug Raman response.
2/ the complete thermodynamic description of drug/material interaction
3/ the understanding of the synergistic interplay between drug/material interaction and drug Raman response via, notably, the identification of key determinants related to material characteristics, the thermodynamic parameters of the drug/material interaction and the conditions of Raman spectroscopy measurements
4/ the optimization of these key determinants to generate in a control manner SERS effect and thus to reach the lowest drug detection threshold.
The project is divided in two stages. During Stage I (steps 1 to 4), we will work with Oxazepam that is one of the benzodiazepines metabolites that are commonly prescribed and easily accessible drugs in France. They are often found during toxicological testing in cases of drug facilitated sexual assault, but main screening methods that are currently used are lengthy, complicated, or do not successfully detect them at low concentrations. During Stage II dealing with step 4, the expertise acquired during stage I will benefit the detection of drugs that been selected owing to their clinical detection relevance.
The DOM TOM project is interdisciplinary as it gathers indispensable expertise in chemistry (polymers sciences, sol-gel), materials science (porous materials), physical chemistry (thermodynamics), physics and medicine.

Project coordination

Virginie Hornebecq (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique délégation Provence et Corse_ Laboratoire Matériaux Divisés, Interfaces, Réactivité, Electrochimie)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UTLN IM2NP Institut Matériaux Microélectronique Nanosciences de Provence
APHM Centre Anti-Poison et de Toxicovigilance
AMU PIIM Physique des Interactions Ioniques et Moléculaires
AMU IMBE Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie marine et continentale
CNRS DR 12_MADIREL Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique délégation Provence et Corse_ Laboratoire Matériaux Divisés, Interfaces, Réactivité, Electrochimie
AMU ICR Institut de Chimie Radicalaire

Help of the ANR 487,403 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2016 - 36 Months

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