The controlled fabrication of “Tip-On-Tip” TERS probes
Tip-enhanced near-field Raman spectroscopy has exhibited a great ability to detect in situ chemical and structural information on a sample surface with the highest lateral resolution combined with a high sensitivity at the same time. A key challenge in the TERS field is the development and improvement of the fabrication of reproducible metal tip geometries with a sharper apex. In this study, one novel apertureless “Tip-On-Tip” TERS probe with a special plasmonic nanostructure is designed, and a simple Ar+-ion sputtering route has been developed to fabricate silver nanoneedle arrays on the scanning probe microscopy (SPM) cantilevers for tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) probes. These silver nanoneedles possess a very sharp apex with an apex diameter of 15 nm and an apex angle of 20°. The novel TERS probes exhibit enhanced near-field Raman signals compared to an Ag-coated SPM probe, which are attributed to the intense electromagnetic field around the apexes of the Ag nanoneedles and the periodic structure of the Ag nanoneedles.