Herein we describe a self-assembly synthesis of graphene oxide/Ag nanoparticles nano-composites (GO/CS/AgNPs) by non-covalent attachment of AgNPs to chitosan (CS) functionalized graphene oxide (GO) sheets. The negatively charged AgNPs are prone to form aggregates on GO/CS via electrostatic interaction, which is extremely beneficial to the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection of aromatic molecules. Taking advantage of the enrichment of target molecules on GO, the obtained hybrids exhibit strong SERS activity to aromatic molecules (trypan blue and methylene blue). Furthermore, SERS signals of a negatively charged molecule (trypan blue) are stronger than signals of a positively charged molecule (methylene blue) due to the different adsorption capacity of GO/CS/AgNPs for the two opposite charged molecules through electrostatic interaction. Moreover, GO/CS/AgNPs remarkably enhance the main peaks of l-phenylalanine, in comparison with the silver nanoparticles, showing great potential for biomedical applications.

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