Silver nanoparticle coverage dependence of surface-enhanced Raman scattering
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We report surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) from 4-mercaptopyridine adsorbed on nanotextured silver surfaces as the coverage of silver is varied. The degree of surface enhancement is strongly dependent on silver coverage and correlated to the extinction of the surface at the Raman excitation wavelength, that extinction being determined by multiparticle surface plasmon resonances. The coverage dependence of the Raman intensity is consistent with signals being dominated by molecules at junctions inside nanoparticle aggregates where electromagnetic energy is localized into “hot spots” by interactions of the incident and scattered fields with the surface plasmons. The Raman intensity drops precipitously near the conductivity percolation threshold because these hot spots are destroyed when conducting paths allow plasmons to propagate. Our approach to substrate preparation provides clean surfaces with average enhancements ≥107, an order of magnitude larger than typical for SERS.
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