SERS investigation of possible extraterrestrial life traces: Experimental adsorption of adenine on a Martian meteorite

Authors

  • Stefano CAPORALI,

    Corresponding author
    1. Museo di Scienze Planetarie, Via Galcianese 20/h, I-59100 Prato, Italy
    2. Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff,” Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via della Lastruccia 3, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
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  • Vanni MOGGI-CECCHI,

    1. Museo di Scienze Planetarie, Via Galcianese 20/h, I-59100 Prato, Italy
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  • Maurizio MUNIZ-MIRANDA,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff,” Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via della Lastruccia 3, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
    2. European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via Nello Carrara 1, I-50019, Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
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  • Marco PAGLIAI,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff,” Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via della Lastruccia 3, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
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  • Giovanni PRATESI,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via G. La Pira 4, I-50123 Firenze (FI), Italy
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  • Vincenzo SCHETTINO

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff,” Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via della Lastruccia 3, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
    2. European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via Nello Carrara 1, I-50019, Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
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Corresponding author. E-mail: stefano.caporali@unifi.it

Abstract

Abstract– The identification of adenine by surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) on different mineral phases of a Martian meteorite Dar al Gani (DaG) 670 has been adopted as a test to verify the capability of this technique to detect trace amounts of organic or biological substances deposited over, or contained in, extraterrestrial materials. Raman spectra of different phases of meteorite (olivine, pyroxene, and ilmenite), representative of Martian basaltic rocks, have been measured by three laser sources with wavelengths at 785, 632.8, and 514.5 nm, coupled to a confocal micro-Raman apparatus. Adenine deposited on the Martian meteorite cannot be observed in the normal Raman spectra; when, instead, meteorite is treated with silver colloidal nanoparticles, the SERS bands of adenine are strongly enhanced, allowing an easy and simple identification of this nucleobase at subpicogram level.

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