Thin silica shell coated Ag assembled nanostructures for expanding generality of SERS analytes

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) provides a unique non-destructive spectroscopic fingerprint for chemical detection. However, intrinsic differences in affinity of analyte molecules to metal surface hinder SERS as a universal quantitative detection tool for various analyte molecules simultaneously. This must be overcome while keeping close proximity of analyte molecules to the metal surface. Moreover, assembled metal nanoparticles (NPs) structures might be beneficial for sensitive and reliable detection of chemicals than single NP structures. For this purpose, the authors introduce thin silica-coated and assembled Ag NPs (SiO2@Ag@SiO2 NPs) for simultaneous and quantitative detection of chemicals that have different intrinsic affinities to silver metal. These SiO2@Ag@SiO2 NPs could detect each SERS peak of aniline or 4-aminothiophenol (4-ATP) from the mixture with limits of detection (LOD) of 93 ppm and 54 ppb, respectively. E-field distribution based on interparticle distance was simulated using discrete dipole approximation (DDA) calculation to gain insight into enhanced scattering of these thin silica coated Ag NP assemblies. These NPs were successfully applied to detect aniline in river water and tap water. Results suggest that SiO2@Ag@SiO2 NP-based SERS detection systems can be used as a simple and universal detection tool for environment pollutants and food safety.

Authors: Cha MG, Kim HM, Kang YL, Lee M, Kang H, Kim J, Pham XH, Kim TH, Hahm E, Lee YS, Jeong DH, Jun BH. ;Full Source: PLoS One. 2017 Jun 1;12(6): e0178651. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178651. eCollection 2017. ;