We demonstrate that silver nanorod (AgNR) array substrates can be used for on-chip separation and detection of chemical mixtures by combining ultra-thin layer chromatography (UTLC) and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The UTLC-SERS plate consists of an AgNR array fabricated by oblique angle deposition. The capability of the AgNR substrates to separate the different compounds in a mixture was explored using a mixture of four dyes and a mixture of melamine and Rhodamine 6G at varied concentrations with different mobile phase solvents. After UTLC separation, spatially-resolved SERS spectra were collected along the mobile phase development direction and the intensities of specific SERS peaks from each component were used to generate chromatograms. The AgNR substrates demonstrate the potential for separating the test dyes with plate heights as low as 9.6 μm. The limits of detection are between 10−5–10−6 M. Furthermore, we show that the coupling of UTLC with SERS improves the SERS detection specificity, as small amounts of target analytes can be separated from the interfering background components.
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