Available Technologies: Health Sciences

Pillar cuvette for spectroscopy

A metal nano-pillar sensing substrate for increasing the performance of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for UV-vis spectroscopic analysis of high limit samples.

BenefitsPillar cuvette demo

  • One step substrate dilution is not required
  • Significant time saving
  • Reduction in errors from sample preparation
  • Spontaneous wicking fills the pillar array
  • Dispensing volume need not be known
  • Quick and easy rinsing between measurements
  • Film thickness can be precisely defined and is reproducible
  • Greater opportunity for mobile testing.


The demand for rapid, simple, and inexpensive analytical methods for unskilled users is growing rapidly. Taking the laboratory to the sample in a compact and inexpensive device has major advantages, including short analysis-to-action turnaround times.

Spectroscopy offers fast and reliable analysis and can now be achieved using compact and relatively inexpensive instruments in remote locations. Amongst the most powerful of optical emission spectroscopy techniques are those based on Raman-scattering. SERS has emerged as a routine and powerful tool for investigating molecular structures and characterising interfacial and thin film systems, and even enables single molecule detection.

The goal of most analytical techniques is to reduce the lower limit of detection; but sometimes it’s necessary to do the opposite. High sample concentrations or samples with high molar absorptivity often require multiple dilution steps or laborious sample preparation prior to spectroscopic analysis.

TechnologyPillar cuvette

Pillar cuvette is an apparatus for performing surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. The pillar cuvette has an array of SERS-active nano-pillars across its surface. The technology uses a dilution-free, one-step UV−vis spectroscopic analysis for high
concentrations samples such as dyes or metal complexes. An unmeasured and undiluted volume of the sample is wicked onto the cuvette spontaneously and precisely. Sample preparation is not laborious or time-consuming and conventional laboratory tasks, such as dilution, are removed as a source of error.

The technique is successful for both opaque and transparent pillars and can be applied to absorbance spectroscopy of high absorptivity, microliter samples. The pillar array has a useful secondary function as an integrated (in-cuvette) filter for particulates.

Potential Markets

Applications in security, health monitoring, environmental detection, and the process control industry are examples where rapid on-site analysis is highly desirable. As the technology is only applicable to Raman spectroscopic equipment the potential
market is supplying the manufacturers of this equipment or their supply chains in servicing their clients.

IP Status

International filings in:

  • China: 201580075903.9
  • Europe: 15866433.4

Partnering Opportunities

UniSA Ventures is seeking manufacturers of spectroscopy equipment or consumables to further develop a product with the object of licensing the technology.


Commercial lead