Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy on a flat graphene surface.
ABSTRACT: Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is an attractive analytical technique, which enables single-molecule sensitive detection and provides its special chemical fingerprints. During the past decades, researchers have made great efforts towards an ideal SERS substrate, mainly including pioneering works on the preparation of uniform metal nanostructure arrays by various nanoassembly and nanotailoring methods, which give better uniformity and reproducibility. Recently, nanoparticles coated with an inert shell were used to make the enhanced Raman signals cleaner. By depositing SERS-active metal nanoislands on an atomically flat graphene layer, here we designed a new kind of SERS substrate referred to as a graphene-mediated SERS (G-SERS) substrate. In the graphene/metal combined structure, the electromagnetic "hot" spots (which is the origin of a huge SERS enhancement) created by the gapped metal nanoislands through the localized surface plasmon resonance effect are supposed to pass through the monolayer graphene, resulting in an atomically flat hot surface for Raman enhancement. Signals from a G-SERS substrate were also demonstrated to have interesting advantages over normal SERS, in terms of cleaner vibrational information free from various metal-molecule interactions and being more stable against photo-induced damage, but with a comparable enhancement factor. Furthermore, we demonstrate the use of a freestanding, transparent and flexible "G-SERS tape" (consisting of a polymer-layer-supported monolayer graphene with sandwiched metal nanoislands) to enable direct, real time and reliable detection of trace amounts of analytes in various systems, which imparts high efficiency and universality of analyses with G-SERS substrates.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC3386126 | BioStudies |