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10 May 2012 Toward practical SERS sensing
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Since its discovery more than 30 years ago, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been recognized as a highly sensitive detection technique for chemical and biological sensing and medical diagnostics. However, the practical application of this remarkably sensitive technique has not been widely accepted as a viable diagnostic method due to the difficulty in preparing robust and reproducible substrates that provide maximum SERS enhancement. Here, we demonstrate that the aligned silver nanorod (AgNR) array substrates engineered by the oblique angle deposition method are capable of providing extremely high SERS enhancement factors (>108). The substrates are large area, uniform, reproducible, and compatible with general microfabrication process. The enhancement factor depends strongly on the length and shape of the Ag nanorods and the underlying substrate coating. By optimizing AgNR SERS substrates, we show that SERS is able to detect trace amount of toxins, virus, bacteria, or other chemical and biological molecules, and distinguish different viruses/bacteria and virus/bacteria strains. The substrate can be tailored into a multi-well chip for high throughput screening, integrated into fiber tip for portable sensing, incorporated into fluid/microfluidic devices for in situ real-time monitoring, fabricated onto a flexible substrate for tracking and identification, or used as on-chip separation device for ultra-thin layer chromatography and diagnostics. By combining the unique SERS substrates with a handheld Raman system, it can become a practical and portable sensor system for field applications. All these developments have demonstrated that AgNR SERS substrates could play an important role in the future for practical clinical, industrial, defense, and security sensing applications.
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Yiping Zhao "Toward practical SERS sensing", Proc. SPIE 8401, Independent Component Analyses, Compressive Sampling, Wavelets, Neural Net, Biosystems, and Nanoengineering X, 84010O (10 May 2012);

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