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Measurement of the Distribution of Site Enhancements in Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering

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Science  18 Jul 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5887, pp. 388-392
DOI: 10.1126/science.1159499

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Abstract

On nanotextured noble-metal surfaces, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is observed, where Raman scattering is enhanced by a factor, , that is frequently about one million, but underlying the factor is a broad distribution of local enhancement factors, η. We have measured this distribution for benzenethiolate molecules on a 330-nanometer silver-coated nanosphere lattice using incident light of wavelength 532 nanometers. A series of laser pulses with increasing electric fields burned away molecules at sites with progressively decreasing electromagnetic enhancement factors. The enhancement distribution P(η)dη was found to be a power law proportional to (η)–1.75, with minimum and maximum values of 2.8 × 104 and 4.1 × 1010, respectively. The hottest sites (η >109) account for just 63 in 1,000,000 of the total but contribute 24% to the overall SERS intensity.

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