, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 113-124

Electromagnetic Enhancement Effect Caused by Aggregation on SERS-Active Gold Nanoparticles

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Abstract

We report a morphology-correlated surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) from molecules on the surface of individual clusters of gold nanoparticles of two types and compare the signal from clusters of two, three, four, and five nanoparticles with the signal from single particles. Cluster geometry and particle morphology are determined from transmission electron microscopy for both clusters of 78- to 133-nm nanospheres and clusters of ~250-nm-etched cylindrical particles with crevices and sharp edges, formed in templates. Scattering from molecules on etched cylinders, but not spheres, is sufficiently strong to allow spectra to be collected from single particles illuminated at 632.8 nm. SERS intensities from clusters of cylinders are found to scale linearly with particle number, whereas, for nanospheres, the scaling is non-linear. The linear scaling of SERS from cylinders is a reflection of the high enhancement provided by the sharp features of the individual particles; whereas, the non-linear scaling of SERS from clusters of spheres is found to be consistent with the near-field enhancement from inter-particle coupling simulated for clusters of spheres arranged in representative-observed geometries.