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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2006 Jun 14;8(22):2624-8. Epub 2006 May 10.

Polarization-dependent effects in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS).

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  • 1The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand.


A few key examples of polarization effects in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) are highlighted and discussed. It is argued that the polarization of the local field, which is felt by an analyte molecule in a location of high electromagnetic field enhancement (hot-spot), can be very different from that of the incident exciting beam. The polarization dependence of the SERS signal is, therefore, mostly dictated by the coupling of the laser to the plasmons rather than by the symmetry of the Raman tensor of the analyte. This sets serious restrictions for the interpretation of both single-molecule SERS polarization studies and for the use of circularly polarized light in techniques like surface-enhanced Raman optical activity.

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