A novel method for batch fabrication of substrates for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been developed. A modified platen that fits in a commercial electron beam evaporator enables the simultaneous deposition of Ag nanorod arrays onto six microscope slides by glancing angle deposition. Following removal of substrates from the evaporator, patterned wells are formed by contact printing of a polymer onto the surface. Well dimensions are defined by penetration of the polymer into the nanorod array and subsequent photochemical curing. Inherent advantages of this method include: (1) simultaneous production of several nanorod array substrates with high structural uniformity, (2) physical isolation of nanorod arrays from one another to minimize cross contamination during sample loading, (3) dimensional compatibility of the patterned array with existing SERS microscope, (4) large SERS enhancement afforded by the nanorod array format, (5) small fluid volumes, and (6) ease of use for manual delivery of fluids to each element in the patterned array. In this article, the well-to-well, slide-to-slide, and batch-to-batch variability in physical characteristics and SERS response of substrates prepared via this method is critically examined.

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