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Analyst. 2001 Jan;126(1):1-3.

Disposable, stable media for reproducible surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

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  • 1School of Chemistry, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, UK BT9 5AG.


Large numbers of identical and stable SE(R)RS [surface-enhanced (resonance) Raman]-active media, which are convenient to handle and manipulate but sufficiently inexpensive that they can be used once and then discarded, have been prepared by isolating nanoparticles from Ag and Au sols in hydrophilic polymer gels. The preparation simply involves mixing a suitable polymer with the sol to give a viscous suspension that can be coated onto a substrate and dried to form a hard translucent film. The films remain inactive until they are treated with aqueous analyte solution, which causes the film to swell and brings the analyte into contact with the active metal particles. The swollen films give strong SERS spectra which are effectively identical to those obtained from simple sols. The advantage of this method is that the dried polymers can be stored indefinitely before use and that they give a high degree of spectral reproducibility.

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