Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 403, Issue 1, pp 27–54 | Cite as

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS): progress and trends

  • Dana Cialla
  • Anne März
  • René Böhme
  • Frank Theil
  • Karina Weber
  • Michael Schmitt
  • Jürgen PoppEmail author


Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) combines molecular fingerprint specificity with potential single-molecule sensitivity. Therefore, the SERS technique is an attractive tool for sensing molecules in trace amounts within the field of chemical and biochemical analytics. Since SERS is an ongoing topic, which can be illustrated by the increased annual number of publications within the last few years, this review reflects the progress and trends in SERS research in approximately the last three years. The main reason why the SERS technique has not been established as a routine analytic technique, despite its high specificity and sensitivity, is due to the low reproducibility of the SERS signal. Thus, this review is dominated by the discussion of the various concepts for generating powerful, reproducible, SERS-active surfaces. Furthermore, the limit of sensitivity in SERS is introduced in the context of single-molecule spectroscopy and the calculation of the ‘real’ enhancement factor. In order to shed more light onto the underlying molecular processes of SERS, the theoretical description of SERS spectra is also a growing research field and will be summarized here. In addition, the recording of SERS spectra is affected by a number of parameters, such as laser power, integration time, and analyte concentration. To benefit from synergies, SERS is combined with other methods, such as scanning probe microscopy and microfluidics, which illustrates the broad applications of this powerful technique.


Various SERS substrates visualized using scanning electron microscopy


Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) Plasmonics Plasmonic array Microfluidics Tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) Single-molecule detection SERS enhancement factor Theoretical description of SERS spectra Parameters for SERS detection 



For providing SEM images of various SERS substrates and plasmonic arrays, we thank Franka Jahn, Dr. Uwe Hübner, Isabel Freitag, and Dr. Andrea Csaki (all from IPHT Jena, Germany). Funding of the research project “Photonic Nanomaterials (PhoNa)” within the framework “Spitzenforschung und Innovation in den Neuen Ländern” from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (BMBF) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dana Cialla
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne März
    • 1
  • René Böhme
    • 1
  • Frank Theil
    • 1
  • Karina Weber
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Schmitt
    • 1
  • Jürgen Popp
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Physical Chemistry and Abbe Center of PhotonicsFriedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Photonic Technology e.V. JenaJenaGermany

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