Plasmonic metal carbide SERS chips†
With the intrinsic drawbacks of high processing costs, expensive raw materials and poor product-stability, the practical applications of commercial noble metal surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) chips have been severely impeded. Thus, it comes as a significant challenge to develop an uncomplicated preparation method and search for low-cost candidates for highly-sensitive commercial SERS chips. Herein, we come up with a facile and universal approach to fabricate a series of plasmonic metal carbide SERS chips. This is the first time that tungsten carbide, molybdenum carbide, and niobium carbide are reported as SERS materials with cheap prices. Furthermore, we prove that the high SERS activity of these materials comes from strong localized surface plasmon resonance effects. These metal carbide chips could realize the detection of diverse organic molecules, and the detection limit concentration of rhodamine 6G was found to be below 10−8 M, which is even lower than some of the noble metal SERS substrates. Our work provides an efficient strategy to upgrade the industries of commercial SERS chips.