Advanced Materials, Vol.28, No.27, 5705-5711, 2016
Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy as a Probe of the Surface Chemistry of Nanostructured Materials
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is now widely used as a rapid and inexpensive tool for chemical/biochemical analysis. The method can give enormous increases in the intensities of the Raman signals of low-concentration molecular targets if they are adsorbed on suitable enhancing substrates, which are typically composed of nanostructured Ag or Au. However, the features of SERS that allow it to be used as a chemical sensor also mean that it can be used as a powerful probe of the surface chemistry of any nanostructured material that can provide SERS enhancement. This is important because it is the surface chemistry that controls how these materials interact with their local environment and, in real applications, this interaction can be more important than more commonly measured properties such as morphology or plasmonic absorption. Here, the opportunity that this approach to SERS provides is illustrated with examples where the surface chemistry is both characterized and controlled in order to create functional nanomaterials.