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J Phys Chem Lett. 2010 Feb 18;1(4):696-703.

Understanding the SERS Effects of Single Silver Nanoparticles and Their Dimers, One at a Time.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130.


This perspective article highlights recent developments in a class of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) experiments that aim to correlate SERS enhancement factors with the physical parameters of metal nanostructures. In a typical study, the SERS substrate is fabricated by depositing colloidal nanoparticles on a silicon wafer to obtain individual particles isolated from each other, or small aggregates such as dimeric units. With the help of registration marks, the same nanoparticle, or dimer of nanoparticles, can be quickly located under a Raman microscope (for SERS spectra) and a scanning electron microscope (for structural characterization). The nanoscale characterization achieved by these studies has resulted in unparalleled investigations into the nature of polarization dependency for SERS, the hot spot nature of single nanoparticles and dimers, and the manipulation of hot spots through shape-controlled synthesis and self-assembly. We discuss the new insights these studies have offered, and the future progress they can deliver to the advancement of SERS.

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