Fabrication, characterization, and high temperature surface enhanced Raman spectroscopic performance of SiO2 coated silver particles†
We present a systematic study on the fabrication, characterization and high temperature surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) performance of SiO2 coated silver nanoparticles (Ag@SiO2) on a flat substrate, aiming to obtain a thermally robust SERS substrate for monitoring high temperature reactions. We confirm that a 10–15 nm SiO2 coating provides a structure stability up to 900 °C without significantly sacrificing the enhancement factor, while the uncoated particle cannot retain the SERS effect above 500 °C. The finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulation results supported that the SiO2 coating almost has no influence on the distribution of the electric field but only physically trapped the most enhanced spot inside the coating layer. On this thermally robust substrate, we confirmed that the SERS of horizontally aligned single walled carbon nanotubes is stable at elevated temperatures, and demonstrate an in situ Raman monitoring of the atmosphere of the annealing process of nanodiamonds, in which the interconverting process of C–C bonds is unambiguously observed. We claim that this is a first experimental proof that the high temperature SERS effect can be preserved and applied in a chemical reaction at temperature above 500 °C. This versatile substrate also enables novel opportunities for observing growth, etching, and structure transformation of many 0D and 2D nano-materials.