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Issue 34, 2007
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Expanding generality of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy with borrowing SERS activity strategy

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Abstract

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) was discovered three decades ago and has gone through a tortuous pathway to develop into a powerful diagnostic technique. Recently, the lack of substrate, surface and molecular generalities of SERS has been circumvented to a large extent by devising and utilizing various nanostructures by many groups including ours. This article aims to present our recent approaches of utilizing the borrowing SERS activity strategy mainly through constructing two types of nanostructures. The first nanostructure is chemically synthesized Au nanoparticles coated with ultra-thin shells (ca. one to ten atomic layers) of various transition metals, e.g., Pt, Pd, Ni and Co, respectively. Boosted by the long-range effect of the enhanced electromagnetic (EM) field generated by the highly SERS-active Au core, the originally low surface enhancement of the transition metal can be substantially improved giving total enhancement factors up to 104–105. It allows us to obtain the Raman spectra of surface water, having small Raman cross-section, on several transition metals for the first time. To expand the surface generality of SERS, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) has been employed. With TERS, a nanogap can be formed controllably between an atomically flat metal surface and the tip with an optimized shape, within which the enhanced EM field from the tip can be coupled (borrowed) effectively. Therefore, one can obtain surface Raman signals (TERS signals) from adsorbed species at Au(110), Au(111) and, more importantly, Pt(110) surfaces. The enhancement factor achieved on these single crystal surfaces can be up to 106, especially with a very high spatial resolution down to about 14 nm. To fully accomplish the borrowing strategy from different nanostructures and to explain the experimental observations, a three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain method was used to calculate and evaluate the local EM field on the core–shell nanoparticle surfaces and the TERS tips. Finally, prospects and further developments of this valuable strategy are briefly discussed with emphasis on the emerging experimental methodologies.

Graphical abstract: Expanding generality of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy with borrowing SERS activity strategy

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Nov 2006, accepted on 09 Mar 2007 and first published on 04 Apr 2007


Article type: Feature Article
DOI: 10.1039/B616986D
Citation: Chem. Commun., 2007,0, 3514-3534
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    Expanding generality of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy with borrowing SERS activity strategy

    Z. Tian, B. Ren, J. Li and Z. Yang, Chem. Commun., 2007, 0, 3514
    DOI: 10.1039/B616986D

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