Magnetic SERS Substrates – Enhanced Reproducibility and Lowered Detection Limit

SERS active colloids + magnetic particles + analyte specific reagents -> easy-to-make SERS sensing platform.

Materials Sensors

Data imageThe US Navy seeks to commercialize through licensing an easy-to-make, versatile substrate for Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). Even though SERS has been investigated for sensing purposes since 1974, the lack of off-the-shelf substrates and reproducibility have been the two key weak points that have prevented this useful technique from being more widely practiced. This recent Navy innovation helps to overcome these problems and, at the same time, provides for lower detection limits.

SERS active metal colloids are immobilized onto functionalized magnetic particles to form SERS active capture matrices (ACM). An appropriate reagent is introduced to form a self assembled monolayer, SAM, (in the above example the reagent is RSH), onto the ACMs. The resultant SAM-ACM is used to extract analytes. A magnet is used to concentrate the microparticles onto the side of the sample vial, allowing analyte detection by SERS. The SAM itself exhibits a SERS spectrum, which can be used advantageously for normalization purposes. The innovation enables the sensitivity of SERS to be more fully utilized for detection of analytes.

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