Ramen Corona Viral Spectroscopy

  • Hack Title: Ramen Corona Viral Spectroscopy
  • Hack Details: The newly identified corona virus SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID-19 has spread in many countries, caused far too many deaths and hospitalizations and become nearly impossible to ignore.As scientists we can’t help but ask, how can I help? Can we build a better soap? Build a medieval doctor’s plague mask to help with the shortage of masks? Would the ozone from a high voltage corona discharge kill a corona virus?What about that Star Trek episode where they cured a plague by hitting Spock with intense UV light? Should we be distilling rubbing alcohol and making our own disinfectant mats for Irish rail like they did for the Hoof and Mouth epidemic?

    All of that sounds too complicated so we’re going to do something simple and sciency to detect viruses so we’ll know when to run away.

    I know what you’re thinking, build a scanning electron microscope!

    Yes, that would be good craic and if we have the money, tools and know-how to do that in 36 hours, I’m on board. But I was aiming for something even simpler. You see, because viruses are teeeny weeny, comparable to the wavelength of light, visible light microscopes are almost worthless. But maybe we can use their wavelength-dodging optical properties. You guessed it again, we need:

    Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection of multiple viral antigens using magnetic capture of SERS-active nanoparticles. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23021841)
    Eureka! Duh!?

    (Magnetic capture, ramen tweezers… is optional, all we need to do is detect it, its an exercise for other scientists to figure out how to blow it up.)

    And who is going to calibrate it with a real COVID-19 sample? Not me. So that’s why our prototype will be an HD-DVD based ramen spectrograph with Vitamin A as the sample molecule. As in this:

    HD DVD substrates for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy analysis: fabrication, theoretical predictions and practical performance



  • What you need to make it happen?: We need biologists, virologist, spectrologists, opthomologists, mechanics, computer scientists, electronicists, brewmeisters and anyone washes their hands and coughs into their elbows. We may have to substitute Blue-Ray for HD-DVD since that format went the way of the Betamax and we may have to use Ramen noodles or Corona beer as a source of Vitamin A and a bottle of Vitamin A from the chemist.
  • Name: Brian Nitz
  • Twitter/website: http://www.opensourcemechanic.com/blog/2020/03/ramen-corona-viral-spectroscopy/