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16 February 2010 Characterization of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates fabricated from colloidal printing inks
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Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is now a well-established technique to greatly amplify the normally weak Raman scattering signals. The amplification is achieved by using SERS substrates - specially structured metallic substrates with nano-scale morphological features. One of the most widely used methods for SERS amplification employs nanoparticles of silver or gold either in colloidal suspension or in dry-drop form. In such substrates SERS amplification factors (AF) exceeding 1012 have been reported. The reproducibility of the colloid-based substrates, however, is a problem. The lack of reproducibility can be caused by a variety of factors that can change the interparticle distances. In this paper we show that thermal annealing of SERS substrates fabricated using commercially available nano-particle inks can be used to create thermally stable substrates with high reproducibility. It appears that thermal annealing destroys the unstable hot-spots with very high AF's but still leaves the sample with high AF sites yielding spatially averaged substrate AF's exceeding 108.
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Manuel Figueroa, William Stephenson, Kambiz Pourrezaei, and Somdev Tyagi "Characterization of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates fabricated from colloidal printing inks", Proc. SPIE 7576, Reporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications II, 75761T (16 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.847088;

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