A comparison of SERS and MEF of rhodamine 6G on a gold substrate
Rhodamine 6G is spin-cast onto gold surfaces and the reflectance, emission, excitation, and SERS spectra are reported. Electron microscopy shows that the particle sizes of the gold are uniform for all preparations. Reflection spectra demonstrate the spectroscopic signature for Rh6G aggregates for thicker films and that the gold plasmon band shifts due to the refractive index change on the surface. The intensity of the SERS spectra increases with increasing surface coverage but the change is nonlinear between submonolayer and multilayer surface densities. The SERS resonance frequencies are unchanged as a function of Rh6G thickness, indicating that there is no coupling between Rh6G molecules in the ground state. The emission spectra behave unexpectedly as a function of Rh6G coverage. At submonolayer coverage the emission is relatively strong, decreases as the surface density increases to a monolayer, and then increases as the Rh6G thickness increases. Excitation spectra demonstrate that the emitting species at low surface density is monomeric but for thicker layers the moiety responsible for emission is Rh6G excited state aggregates. For the thicker films, the Rh6G acts as its own dielectric layer for metal enhanced fluorescence of the aggregates, which is the first example of a system where the fluorophore acts as its own dielectric for metal enhanced fluorescence. The intensity of the aggregate emission on gold intensity is three times of that found when Rh6G is deposited on glass. The gold induces emission in the Rh6G excited state aggregates that are quenched in the absence of the plasmon field.