Self-Assembled Metal Colloid Monolayers: An Approach to SERS Substrates

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Science  17 Mar 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5204, pp. 1629-1632
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5204.1629


The self-assembly of monodisperse gold and silver colloid particles into monolayers on polymer-coated substrates yields macroscopic surfaces that are highly active for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Particles are bound to the substrate through multiple bonds between the colloidal metal and functional groups on the polymer such as cyanide (CN), amine (NH2), and thiol (SH). Surface evolution, which can be followed in real time by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and SERS, can be controlled to yield high reproducibility on both the nanometer and the centimeter scales. On conducting substrates, colloid monolayers are electrochemically addressable and behave like a collection of closely spaced microelectrodes. These favorable properties and the ease of monolayer construction suggest a widespread use for metal colloid-based substrates.