Developing a sensor that identifies and quantifies trace amounts of analyte molecules is crucially important for widespread applications, especially in the areas of chemical and biological detection. By non-invasively identifying the vibrational signatures of the target molecules, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been widely employed as a tool for molecular detection. Here, we report on the reproducible fabrication of wafer-scale dense SERS arrays and single-nanogap level near-field imaging of these dense arrays under ambient conditions. Plasmonic nanogaps densely populated the spaces among globular Ag nanoparticles with an areal density of 120 particles per μm 2 upon application of a nanolithography-free simple process consisting of the Ar plasma treatment of a polyethylene terephthalate substrate and subsequent Ag sputter deposition. The compact nanogaps produced a high SERS enhancement factor of 3.3 × 10 7 and homogeneous (coefficient of variation of 8.1%) SERS response. The local near fields at these nanogaps were visualized using photo-induced force microscopy that simultaneously enabled near-field excitation and near-field force detection under ambient conditions. A high spatial resolution of 3.1 nm was achieved. Taken together, the generation of a large-area SERS array with dense plasmonic nanogaps and the subsequent single-nanogap level characterization of the local near field have profound implications in the nanoplasmonic imaging and sensing applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)