Laser ablation of metals is a new and very powerful method for preparation of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) active colloids. The method is characterized by its simplicity and versatility. Stable Ag, Au, Pt, Pd, and Cu colloids are prepared by ablation of the metal for ~ 10 min in water and organic solvents. An important advantage of this approach over conventional chemical procedures is that the colloids are free of organic or ionic species. Consequently, the chemical and physical effects of ions or other adsorbates can be studied under carefully controlled conditions. The SERS activity of colloidal metals prepared by laser ablation is comparable or superior to that of chemically prepared colloids.

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