• SERS;
  • gold nanoparticle;
  • β-cyclodextrin;
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
  • selective detection


This paper reports the qualitative analysis and quantitative detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules with per-6-deoxy-(6-thio)-β-cyclodextrin (CD-SH) modified gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) by surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy. For the selective sensing of PAHs, which are environmental pollutants with very low affinity to metallic surfaces, by SERS, a stable substrate with AuNPs and CD-SH was utilized by supramolecular interaction. Quantitative detection of each PAH was carried out by SERS on inclusion complexes with different concentrations. From the SERS spectra of a mixture of five different PAHs, we could easily distinguish each PAH by its discriminant peaks. In addition, quantitative analysis of one component in a mixture of five PAHs was also investigated. This sensing platform revealed matching relationship between the host and the guest and the host–guest interaction mechanism. The proposed approach for the selective detection of PAHs holds great potential in the detection of environmental organic pollutants. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.