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Issue 25, 2014
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Design and fabrication of random silver films as substrate for SERS based nano-stress sensing of proteins

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Abstract

We report a simple and easy to fabricate random silver film (RSF) as a highly sensitive Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) substrate which can be fabricated directly onto a dielectric substrate such as glass. An electron beam evaporation system was used for substrate fabrication. The SERS activity is attributed to the formation of electromagnetic ‘hot-spots’ on the film. Substrate performance is analyzed by studying the reproducibility and signal enhancement from the Raman active molecule, 2-naphthalene thiol (NT), which is covalently anchored to the substrate. The metal thickness is optimized to achieve the highest SERS enhancement. Based on this study we found that a 7 nm RSF substrate gave the best SERS activity. The SERS signal intensity exhibited by 7 nm RSF is found to be at least 3 orders of magnitude higher than that of a commercial substrate. The SERS enhancement factor is estimated to be ∼1 × 107 with a point-to-point intensity variation of about 12% and it reaches a maximum of 15% for batch-to-batch comparison. The efficacy of this substrate for biosensing is demonstrated by detecting H1 influenza protein, and the detection limit is found to be ∼10 pM when it is used along with a recently established nano-stress SERS sensor, 4-ATP (4-amino-thiophenol), as linker molecule. This detection limit shows a performance superior to conventional ELISA (which has a nM detection limit). These results show promise for the development of a biosensing platform based on the marriage of RSF with nano-stress sensors.

Graphical abstract: Design and fabrication of random silver films as substrate for SERS based nano-stress sensing of proteins

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Sep 2013, accepted on 23 Jan 2014 and first published on 23 Jan 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44867C
Citation: RSC Adv., 2014,4, 12995-13000
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    Design and fabrication of random silver films as substrate for SERS based nano-stress sensing of proteins

    J. Perumal, K. V. Kong, U. S. Dinish, R. M. Bakker and M. Olivo, RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 12995
    DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44867C

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