Generation of Ag nanospikes via laser ablation in liquid environment and their activity in SERS of organic molecules
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The formation of dense arrays of nanospikes occurs under laser ablation of bulk silver immersed in liquids such as water or ethanol. The average height of spikes is 50 nm and their density on the target amounts to 1010 cm-2. This effect is observed with sufficiently short laser pulses. In particular, either a 350 ps or a 90 ps Nd:YAG lasers are used operating in their fundamental harmonics. These nanospikes are characterized by UV–visible reflection spectrometry and atomic force microscopy. The oscillations of electrons within Ag nanospikes results in a permanent coloration of the surface and a modification of the optical reflection spectra of the metal. Nanospikes show a peak of plasmon resonance around 380 nm, which shifts to the visible range upon oxidation in air. The initial spectrum may be restored by reduction of the oxidized Ag surface through processing in an ammonia aqueous solution. Scanning the laser beam along the metal surface allows its nanostructuring over extended areas (∼1 cm2). The nanostructured Ag surface shows enhanced Raman scattering of acridine molecules at a concentration of 10-5 M/l, whereas initial Ag target do not show any signal within the accuracy of measurements.
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