Spiers Memorial Lecture
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy: from single particle/molecule spectroscopy to ångstrom-scale spatial resolution and femtosecond time resolution
Four decades on, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) continues to be a vibrant field of research that is growing (approximately) exponentially in scope and applicability while pushing at the ultimate limits of sensitivity, spatial resolution, and time resolution. This introductory paper discusses some aspects related to all four of the themes for this Faraday Discussion. First, the wavelength-scanned SERS excitation spectroscopy (WS-SERES) of single nanosphere oligomers (viz., dimers, trimers, etc.), the distance dependence of SERS, the magnitude of the chemical enhancement mechanism, and the progress toward developing surface-enhanced femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (SE-FSRS) are discussed. Second, our efforts to develop a continuous, minimally invasive, in vivo glucose sensor based on SERS are highlighted. Third, some aspects of our recent work in single molecule SERS and the translation of that effort to ångstrom-scale spatial resolution in ultrahigh vacuum tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (UHV-TERS) and single molecule electrochemistry using electrochemical (EC)-TERS will be presented. Finally, we provide an overview of analytical SERS with our viewpoints on SERS substrates, approaches to address the analyte generality problem (i.e. target molecules that do not spontaneously adsorb and/or have Raman cross sections <10−29 cm2 sr−1), SERS for catalysis, and deep UV-SERS.