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22 February 2008 Development of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates using nanoparticle-based printing inks
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Raman spectroscopy is now a well-established analytical tool for obtaining rapid and compound specific information for chemical analysis. However, Raman scattering - inelastic scattering of photons - cross sections are typically of the order of 10-30 cm2 per molecule and thus Raman signals are usually weak. In Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) the signals can be greatly amplified by using specially structured metallic (usually Ag, Au, and Cu) substrates. SERS substrates can be fabricated by a variety of methods. Here, we report a method for fabricating SERS substrates from commercially available silver nanoparticle based printing inks. For dilute inks (~ 1-2% Ag by weight) the method involves the airbrushing of inks on heated (~100oC) quartz or polymer substrates followed by heating at 170oC for about 20 minutes. The heating treatment removes the polymer coating used to prevent aggregation of Ag particles in the colloidal suspension and allows partial sintering of particles. More concentrated inks (~ 20 - 30% Ag by weight) can be applied to various substrates at room temperature followed by the thermal treatment. SERS spectra of Rhodamine 6G, and β-carotene molecules are reported. SERS amplification factors of more than 106 can be easily obtained reproducibly.
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Manuel A. Figueroa, Sam Park, Kambiz Pourrezaei, and Somdev Tyagi "Development of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates using nanoparticle-based printing inks", Proc. SPIE 6866, Colloidal Quantum Dots for Biomedical Applications III, 686610 (22 February 2008);

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