Next-generation Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) Substrates for Hazard Detection

Report No. ARL-RP-0411
Authors: Mikella E. Farrell, Ellen L. Holthoff and Paul M. Pellegrino
Date/Pages: September 2012; 16 pages
Abstract: Sensitive, accurate and reliable methods are needed for the detection and identification of hazardous materials (chemical, biological, and energetic) in the field. Utilizing such a sensing capability incorporated into a portable detection system would have wide spread beneficial impact to the U.S. military and first responder communities. Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is increasingly becoming a reputable technique for the real-time, dynamic detection and identification of hazard materials. SERS is particularly advantageous as it does not suffer from interferences from water, requires little to no sample preparation, is robust and can be used in numerous environments, is relatively insensitive to the wavelength of excitation employed, and produces a narrow-band spectral signature unique to the molecular vibrations of the analyte. We will report on the characterization and sensing capabilities of these next generation SERS substrates for the detection of energetic materials (ammonium nitrate, TNT, PETN, and RDX). Additionally, new efforts producing highly uniform samples, with known concentrations of energetic materials inkjet printed onto the SERS sensing surface using a precisely calibrated MicroJet system will be shown.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2012