Controlled growth of polyhedral and plate-like Ag nanocrystals on a nanofiber mat as a SERS substrate†
We report chemical deposition of silver nanocrystals (AgNCs) of different sizes and morphologies, such as polyhedra and plates, on a polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofiber mat. High performance surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates are achieved. The effect of the experimental parameters, such as the temperature, concentration and pH of [Ag(NH3)2]OH aqueous solution, on the morphology evolution and density of AgNCs is systematically investigated. The results suggest that the optimized nanofiber mat exhibits a significant SERS performance with superior stability and reproduction, and the SERS enhancement factor (EF) can reach as high as 108 for 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (4-MBA). The optimized nanofiber mat also shows high SERS activity for p-aminothiophenol (4-ATP) over the whole nanofiber mat demonstrating the feasibility for detection of both analytes. The detection limit of 4-MBA and 4-ATP is as low as 10−9 M and 10−10 M respectively, making the nanofiber mat a promising candidate for SERS detection of chemical pollutants.