Characterization of Next Generation Commercial Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering Substrates with a 633- and 785-nm System

Report No. ARL-TR-6419
Authors: Mikella E. Farrell, Dimitra N. Stratis-Cullum, and Paul M. Pellegrino
Date/Pages: April 2013; 28 pages
Abstract: The development of a sensing platform to detect and identify biological, chemical, and energetic hazards is a long-sought-after goal of the Army and other first responder communities. Surface enhanced Raman scatting (SERS) is a spectroscopic technique gaining popularity as it address many sensing needs. However, despite the many advantages of SERS, it remains a marginalized sensing technique primarily due to the challenges in fabricating a reliable, highly sensitive, reproducible nanoscale surface. In this work, we demonstrate that many of the substrate fabrication challenges have been overcome by a newly developed, commercially available, next generation Klarite SERS substrate. These substrates are fabricated similarly to the standard Klarite substrates, but due to variations in the size and spacing of the surface features, they have increased sensing capabilities. The sensitivity for detecting the model SERS analyte, trans-1,2-bi-(4-pyridyl) ethylene (BPE) using both a 633- and 785-nm laser system is demonstrated. For one of the next generation substrates, the detection limit improved by as much as ~4 times for BPE (under some conditions). This improved performance may in part be attributed to physical changes to the substrate surface including an increased density of features and plasmon absorbance band locations.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2013