• zinc oxide;
  • silver;
  • composites;
  • microspheres;
  • surface-enhanced Raman scattering


We show in this paper how zinc oxide (ZnO)/silver (Ag) composite microspheres can be prepared by the reduction of Ag(NH3)2+ with the reducing agent formaldehyde in aqueous solution on the surface of ZnO microspheres. During the preparation, Sn2+ was absorbed on the surface of ZnO microspheres for sensitization and activation, and then Ag(NH3)2+ was reduced to Ag nanoparticles by the reducing agent to obtain ZnO/Ag composite microspheres. SEM and TEM images revealed silver nanoparticles with a diameter ranging from tens to 100 nm. X-Ray photoelectron spectra (XPS), X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns and UV-vis spectra were used to characterize the structure of the ZnO/Ag composite microspheres. The origin of the surface-enhanced Raman scattering properties was traced to the surface of the ZnO/Ag composite microspheres. The enhancement factor was estimated in detail, and the enhancement mechanism for the SERS effect was also investigated. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.