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Small. 2017 Jun;13(22). doi: 10.1002/smll.201603947. Epub 2017 Apr 25.

Advanced SERS Sensor Based on Capillarity-Assisted Preconcentration through Gold Nanoparticle-Decorated Porous Nanorods.

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Department of Materials Engineering, School of Power and Mechanical Engineering, Wuhan University, South Donghu Road 8, 430072, Wuhan, China.
Institut für Chemie neuer Materialien, Universität Osnabrück, Barbarastr. 7, 49069, Osnabrück, Germany.
Key Laboratory of Advanced Energy Materials Chemistry (Ministry of Education), College of Chemistry, Nankai University, 300071, Tianjin, China.
Fakultät für Chemie, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 45141, Essen, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Ackermannweg 10, 55128, Mainz, Germany.
State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering, College of Chemical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, 210009, China.
Zoologisches Institut, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24098, Kiel, Germany.


A preconcentrating surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensor for the analysis of liquid-soaked tissue, tiny liquid droplets and thin liquid films without the necessity to collect the analyte is reported. The SERS sensor is based on a block-copolymer membrane containing a spongy-continuous pore system. The sensor's upper side is an array of porous nanorods having tips functionalized with Au nanoparticles. Capillarity in combination with directional evaporation drives the analyte solution in contact with the flat yet nanoporous underside of the SERS sensor through the continuous nanopore system toward the nanorod tips where non-volatile components of the analyte solution precipitate at the Au nanoparticles. The nanorod architecture increases the sensor surface in the detection volume and facilitates analyte preconcentration driven by directional solvent evaporation. The model analyte 5,5'-dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoic acid) can be detected in a 1 × 10-3 m solution ≈300 ms after the sensor is brought into contact with the solution. Moreover, a sensitivity of 0.1 ppm for the detection of the dissolved model analyte is achieved.


SERS; block copolymers; porous materials; preconcentration; sensors


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