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Anal Chem. 2009 Apr 15;81(8):3056-62. doi: 10.1021/ac802761v.

Ad-hoc surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy methodologies for the detection of artist dyestuffs: thin layer chromatography-surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy and in situ on the fiber analysis.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


Tailored ad-hoc methods must be developed for successful identification of minute amounts of natural dyes on works of art using Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). This article details two of these successful approaches using silver film over nanosphere (AgFON) substrates and silica gel coupled with citrate-reduced Ag colloids. The latter substrate functions as the test system for the coupling of thin-layer chromatography and SERS (TLC-SERS), which has been used in the current research to separate and characterize a mixture of several artists' dyes. The poor limit of detection of TLC is overcome by coupling with SERS, and dyes which co-elute to nearly the same spot can be distinguished from each other. In addition, in situ extractionless non-hydrolysis SERS was used to analyze dyed reference fibers, as well as historical textile fibers. Colorants such as alizarin, purpurin, carminic acid, lac dye, crocin, and Cape jasmine were thus successfully identified.

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