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Issue 15, 2018
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Tuning plasmons layer-by-layer for quantitative colloidal sensing with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

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Abstract

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is well known for its high sensitivity that emerges due to the plasmonic enhancement of electric fields typically on gold and silver nanostructures. However, difficulties associated with the preparation of nanostructured substrates with uniform and reproducible features limit reliability and quantitation using SERS measurements. In this work we use layer-by-layer (LbL) self-assembly to incorporate multiple functional building blocks of collaborative assemblies of nanoparticles on colloidal spheres to fabricate SERS sensors. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are packaged in discrete layers, effectively ‘freezing nano-gaps’, on spherical colloidal cores to achieve multifunctionality and reproducible sensing. Coupling between layers tunes the plasmon resonance for optimum SERS signal generation to achieve a 10 nM limit of detection. Significantly, using the layer-by-layer construction, SERS-active AuNP layers are spaced out and thus optically isolated. This uniquely allows the creation of an internal standard within each colloidal sensor to enable highly reproducible self-calibrated sensing. By using 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (4-MBA) as the internal standard adenine concentrations are quantified to an accuracy of 92.6–99.5%. Our versatile approach paves the way for rationally designed yet quantitative colloidal SERS sensors and their use in a variety of sensing applications.

Graphical abstract: Tuning plasmons layer-by-layer for quantitative colloidal sensing with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Sep 2017, accepted on 21 Mar 2018 and first published on 22 Mar 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06656B
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018,10, 7138-7146
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    Tuning plasmons layer-by-layer for quantitative colloidal sensing with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

    W. J. Anderson, K. Nowinska, T. Hutter, S. Mahajan and M. Fischlechner, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 7138
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06656B

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