Fiber-Coupled Imaging Spectroscopy
A plasmonic fiber optic tip for spectroscopy systems capable of improving data quality and operational efficiency in nanotechnology surface inspections.
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Intellectual Property

Fiber-Coupled Metal - Tip Near - Field Chemical Imaging Spectroscopy

View U.S. Patent No. US 10145799B2 in PDF format.



Dr. Zhenrong Zang

Department of Physics

External Links


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Blueprints Lab uncovers and validates commercialization data on university innovations so investors can quickly see where the business and technical value lies.  Blueprints works with business and industry to translate university research into products that meet the world's needs. Blueprints IP managers and licensing staff are familiar with patenting for market-impact, have worked with researchers, understand the marketplace, and have managed dealflow to meet the individual needs of both university and business clients.

SRL Level 4

Scientific Readiness Level 

  • Technology Concept and / or Application Formulated

IRL Level 6

IP Readiness Level

  • Patent Office Action(s) Overcome

MRL Level 2

Market Readiness Level

  • Value Proposition Formulated

PRL Level 3

Product Readiness Level 

  • Pre-Prototype Developed

LRL Level 2

Leverage Readiness Level 

  • Unmet Need and Competitor Analysis


Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) is a technique used to measure chemical information about a sample at resolutions as low as 1 nanometer. This technology takes a new approach to TERS by using fiber optics to both deliver and collect light required for raman spectroscopy to an extremely focused area. This is accomplished using a pulled fiber optic that has been coated with plasmonic material at the tip. The plasmonic tip couples with the surface plasmons of the material, allowing light to be added and extracted through the same fiber. Fiber TERS vastly simplifies the technique of TERS when coupled to an atomic force microscope (AFM) or scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

Problem Addressed

Most commercial instruments require significant time to set-up and expertise to operate.


  • Significantly reduces setup time

  • Increases speed and accuracy of data collection

  • Maintains compatibility with existing instrumentation

  • Compatible with aqueous samples and environments

  • Minimizes technical services requirement


Note - TERS is currently not performed with fiber optics and requires a camera and light source (LASER) to focus independently.  Fiber optics are used for another mostly-unrelated technique called NSOM (near-field scanning optical microscope). However, these lack tip enhancement and are not compatible with aqueous (i.e., biological) samples. 


This transformative platform technology represents a massive leap in usability and capability for existing TERS applications and potentially expands its use to thermal and biological analysis.

Stage of Development

This proof-of-concept system has been tested with STM to collect data on quantum dots and on wet-lab samples. Inventors are exploring additional spectroscopy approaches including near-field infrared.


  • TRL 4 for STM

  • TRL 2 for AFM 

Business Opportunity

  • Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent US 10145799B2 from Baylor.

  • License available as a Blueprints No-hassle Limited Exclusive License from Baylor.

  • Licensees may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors.

  • Testing data may be available to companies evaluating the technology.

  • Blueprints guides businesses through licensing and follow-on research; services provided at no cost​.

Notable Mentions

Key man (doctoral student) is interested in pursuing a role with the licensee or start-up. 


Rich Jarvis

Technology Licensing




Dr. Zhenrong Zhang

Department of Physics, Baylor

External Links





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