A high-vacuum cell designed for obtaining surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectra of thin films on nonmetallic surfaces is described. The cell is shown to improve one's ability to obtain SERS spectra with acceptable S/N ratios and drastically reduced interference from sample alteration and/or bands typically assigned to graphitic carbon. This cell forms the basis of a pragmatic approach to obtaining SERS spectra from interfacial systems that applied surface scientists will likely be faced with in their work. We have applied this new sampling approach to the study of thin films of polystyrene, palmitic acid, and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide deposited on Si surfaces.

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