Thermal dewetting tunes surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) performance
Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) belongs to the techniques of ultra-sensitive chemical analysis and involves both identification and quantification of molecular species. Despite the fact that theoretically derived enhancement factors imply that even single molecules may be identified, which in some cases has indeed been experimentally observed, the application of this specific technique as an analytical tool is still an open field of research due to the need for reproducible, stable and simple to prepare SERS active substrates. The current work attempts to contribute to the already established knowledge on the substrates of metallic nanostructured films by a systematic study on the optimal conditions required for the detection of a specifically selected (model) material, the antitumor drug mitoxantrone (MTX). Au thin film deposition on Si substrates, by sputtering followed by solid state thermal dewetting is a facile and reproducible way to prepare Au nanoparticles with the desired particle size distribution. This offers control over their optical – plasmon resonance – properties that can be efficiently tailored to the prerequisites of the resonance Raman conditions, associated to the species under inspection, which is a supplement to the overall enhancement scattering factor. Furthermore, this work attempts to confirm the quantification capabilities of SERS, via the aforementioned substrates, in view of extending SERS applications to food safety, biosensors etc.