The synergistic effect of nitrogen-doped titanium dioxide/mercaptobenzoic acid/silver nanocomplexes for surface-enhanced Raman scattering
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We synthesized titanium dioxide (TiO2) and nitrogen-doped TiO2 nanoparticles (N-TiO2 NPs) via a sol-hydrothermal method using ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) as the nitrogen (N) source. Furthermore, an N-TiO2/4-mercaptobenzoic acid (4-MBA)/silver (Ag) nanocomplex served as an active substrate for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and was prepared by self-assembly. During SERS, the Raman signals of 4-MBA of the N-TiO2/MBA/Ag nanocomplexes exhibited higher intensity and sensitivity than pure TiO2/MBA/Ag, with 1% N doping in N-TiO2, producing the strongest Raman signals. We characterized the N-TiO2 hybrid materials by transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and ultraviolet-visible diffuse reflectance spectra. N doping did not influence the phase of the TiO2 crystal. The doped N entered into the crystal lattice of the TiO2, replacing some oxygen (O) to form Ti-O-N or Ti-N-O linkage. The results indicated that an appropriate amount of N doping could enhance the SERS performance of the TiO2 SERS substrate via N substitution doping. These doping forms were beneficial to the molecular charge transfer (CT), and this resulted in improved SERS performance for N-doped TiO2 NPs. We attributed this improvement to the formation of N-doping energy levels that were beneficial to the process of TiO2 to MBA molecule CT. This work not only enriched the nonmetal-doped CT mechanism in SERS but also provided several reference values for practical applications.
KeywordsN-doped TiO2 Nanocomplex Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) Charge transfer mechanism Semiconductor substrates
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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