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Sci Rep. 2012;2:647. doi: 10.1038/srep00647. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

In-situ plasmon-driven chemical reactions revealed by high vacuum tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

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  • 1Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P O Box 603-146, Beijing, 100190, People's Republic of China.


With strong surface plasmons excited at the metallic tip, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) has both high spectroscopic sensitivity and high spatial resolution, and is becoming an essential tool for chemical analysis. It is a great challenge to combine TERS with a high vacuum system due to the poor optical collection efficiency. We used our innovatively designed home-built high vacuum TERS (HV-TERS) to investigate the plasmon-driven in-situ chemical reaction of 4-nitrobenzenethiol dimerizing to dimercaptoazobenzene. The chemical reactions can be controlled by the plasmon intensity, which in turn can be controlled by the incident laser intensity, tunneling current and bias voltage. The temperature of such a chemical reaction can also be obtained by the clearly observed Stokes and Anti-Stokes HV-TERS peaks. Our findings offer a new way to design a highly efficient HV-TERS system and its applications to chemical catalysis and synthesis of molecules, and significantly extend the studies of chemical reactions.

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