Dimer-on-mirror SERS substrates with attogram sensitivity fabricated by colloidal lithography†
Nanoplasmonic substrates with optimized field-enhancement properties are a key component in the continued development of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) molecular analysis but are challenging to produce inexpensively in large scale. We used a facile and cost-effective bottom-up technique, colloidal hole-mask lithography, to produce macroscopic dimer-on-mirror gold nanostructures. The optimized structures exhibit excellent SERS performance, as exemplified by detection of 2.5 and 50 attograms of BPE, a common SERS probe, using Raman microscopy and a simple handheld device, respectively. The corresponding Raman enhancement factor is of the order 1011, which compares favourably to previously reported record performance values.