SERS activity of pulsed laser ablated silver thin films with controlled nanostructure



The surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) activity of silver thin films deposited by the pulsed laser ablation technique was investigated. The samples were grown in a controlled Ar atmosphere at pressures ranging between 10 and 70 Pa, and changing the number of laser pulses. Different surface morphologies, from isolated nearly spherical nanoparticles (NPs) to larger islands with smooth edges, were observed by means of scanning and transmission electron microscopies, as a function of the different deposition conditions adopted. SERS measurements were performed by soaking the samples in rhodamine 6G aqueous solutions over the concentration range between 1.0 × 10−4 and 5.0 × 10−8M. Raman spectra were acquired using both the 632.8 and 514.5 nm excitation sources. The dependence of the SERS activity of the samples on the observed surface morphology is presented and discussed. The presence of the so called hot spots is envisaged. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.