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Silver-decorated carbon nanotube networks as SERS substrates



We report on investigations upon a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate produced from a two-dimensional single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) network decorated with Ag nanoparticles. Using the strong and unique Raman spectrum of SWNTs as a reference, the SWNT/Ag nanostructure can be considered to provide two regions: one with an ultrasensitive SERS response for single-molecule SERS (SMSERS) study; and another with uniform SERS enhancement over an area of several square millimeters for general SERS measurements. We report the appearance of an anomalous Raman feature at around 2180 cm−1 in the high-sensitivity region which exhibits the characteristics of SMSERS. The SERS performance of the uniform area was characterized using pyridine vapor adsorbed onto the substrate. The presence of the SWNT/Ag nanostructure enhanced the Raman intensity by over seven orders of magnitude, a factor comparable to or exceeding that obtained on SERS substrates reported by other groups. The results indicate great potential to produce highly sensitive, uniform SERS substrates via further fine-tuning of the nanostructure. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.