Abstract

We describe a practical method of fabricating surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates based on dip-coating poly-l-lysine derivatized microscope slides in a gold colloidal suspension. The use of only commercially available starting materials in this preparation is particularly advantageous, aimed at both reducing time and the inconsistency associated with surface modification of substrates. The success of colloid deposition has been demonstrated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the corresponding SERS response (giving performance comparable to the corresponding traditional colloidal SERS substrates). Reproducibility was evaluated by conducting replicate measurements across six different locations on the substrate and assessing the extent of the variability (standard deviation values of spectral parameters: peak width and height), in response to either Rhodamine 6G or Isoniazid. Of particular interest is the observation of how some peaks in a given spectrum are more susceptible to data variability than others. For example, in a Rhodamine 6G SERS spectrum, spectral parameters of the peak at 775 cm<sup>−1</sup> were shown to have a relative standard deviation (RSD) % of <10%, while the peak at 1573 cm<sup>−1</sup> has a RSD of ≥10%. This observation is best explained by taking into account spectral variations that arise from the effect of a chemisorption process and the local nature of chemical enhancement mechanisms, which affects the enhancement of some spectral peaks but not others (analogous to resonant Raman phenomenon).

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