A novel SERS (surface-enhanced Raman scattering) sensor has been recently developed; its peculiar geometry is able to increase considerably both the SERS active surface and the number of internal reflections at the interface between silica and silver, thus allowing an increase of the signal intensity. The aim of this work is to demonstrate that this sensor could be efficiently used to detect some molecules such as illegally used veterinary medicine (crystal violet and malachite green) below the ppb detection limit. The advantages of this sensor with respect to other detection techniques are not only the higher sensitivity, but also the fast response and the possibility of coupling with a portable Raman spectrometer for "on-field" measurements. The ability of the sensor to work under real environmental conditions in the presence of many cationic and anionic species has been tested both in solutions containing sodium and chlorine ions and in water coming from the aqueduct of Milan and from the (normally polluted) river Serio.
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