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Langmuir. 2016 May 10;32(18):4530-7. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b04393. Epub 2016 Apr 29.

Self-Assembled Large-Scale Monolayer of Au Nanoparticles at the Air/Water Interface Used as a SERS Substrate.

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College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Soochow University , Suzhou 215123, China.


Self-assembly of metal nanoparticles has attracted considerable attention because of its unique applications in technologies such as plasmonics, surface-enhanced optics, sensors, and catalysts. However, fabrication of ordered nanoparticle structures remains a significant challenge. Thus, developing an efficient approach for the assembly of large-scale Au nanoparticles films for theoretical studies and for various applications is highly desired. In this paper, a facial approach for fabricating a monolayer film of Au nanoparticles was developed successfully. Using the surfactant polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), a large-scale monolayer film of well-ordered, uniform-sized Au nanoparticles was fabricated at the air/water interface. The film exhibited a two-dimensional (2D) hexagonal close-packed (HCP) structure having interparticle gaps smaller than 2 nm. These gaps generated numerous uniform "hot spots" for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) activity. The as-prepared monolayer film could be transferred to a solid substrate for use as a suitable SERS substrate with high activity, high uniformity, and high stability. The low spot-to-spot and substrate-to-substrate variations of intensity (<10%), the large surface enhancement factor (∼10(6)), and the high stability (∼45 days) make the substrate suitable for SERS measurements. Transfer of the monolayer film onto a glassy carbon electrode produced an Au electrode with clean, well-defined nanostructure suitable for electrochemical SERS measurements. The adsorption process of ionic liquids on the electrode with the monolayer film is similar to that on bulk metal electrodes. The present strategy provides an effective way for self-assembly of Au nanoparticles into well-defined nanostructures that may form optimal reproducible SERS substrates for quantitative analysis. It also provides an electrode with clean, well-defined nanostructure for electrochemical investigations.

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