Spectroscopic Analysis of Neurotransmitters: A Theoretical and Experimental Raman Study

Matthew Alonzo, University of Texas at El Paso


Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) was applied to investigate the feasibility in the detection and monitoring of the dopamine (DA) neurotransmitter adsorbed onto silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) at 10-11 molar, a concentration far below physiological levels. In addition, density functional theory (DFT) calculations were obtained with the Gaussian-09 analytical suite software to generate the theoretical molecular configuration of DA in its neutral, cationic, anionic, and dopaminequinone states for the conversion of computer-simulated Raman spectra. Comparison of theoretical and experimental results show good agreement and imply the presence of dopamine in all of its molecular forms in the experimental setting. The dominant dopamine Raman bands at 750 cm-1 and 795 cm-1 suggest the adsorption of dopaminequinone onto the silver nanoparticle surface. The results of this experiment give good insight into the applicability of using Raman spectroscopy for the biodetection of neurotransmitters.

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Recommended Citation

Alonzo, Matthew, "Spectroscopic Analysis of Neurotransmitters: A Theoretical and Experimental Raman Study" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10280506.