3 May 2012 Evaluation of SERS substrates for chemical agent detection
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US Military forces are dependent on indigenous water supplies, which are considered prime targets to effect a chemical or biological attack. Consequently, there is a clear need for a portable analyzer capable of evaluating water supplies prior to use. To this end we have been investigating the use of a portable Raman analyzer with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sampling systems. The superior selectivity and exceptional sensitivity of SERS has been demonstrated by the detection of single molecules. However, the extreme sensitivity provided by SERS is attributed to "hot spot" structures, such as particle junctions that can provide as much as 10 orders of magnitude enhancement. Unfortunately, hotspots are not evenly distributed across substrates, which results in enhancements that cannot be quantitatively reproduced. Here we present analysis of uniformity for a newly developed substrate and commercial sample vials using benzenethiol and bispyridylethylene, two chemicals often used to characterize SERS substrates, and methyl phosphonic acid, a major hydrolysis product of the nerve agents.
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Hermes Huang, Chetan Shende, Atanu Sengupta, Frank Inscore, and Stuart Farquharson "Evaluation of SERS substrates for chemical agent detection", Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 837322 (3 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.920857; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.920857

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