M-L. Mekonnen, C-H. Chen, M. Osada, W-N. Su, B-J. Hwang
Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 225, 117484 (2020)
The interaction of plasmonic nanoparticles with a dielectric platform gives rise to unique optical behaviors and this can be maneuvered to improve the plasmonic/SERS performances of a substrate. Herein, dielectric modified plasmonic-paper SERS substrate is developed by assembling Ag@SiO2 nanocubes on Fe-TiO2 nanosheets (NS) modified paper. The Fe-TiO2 NS being visible light responsive significantly alters the optical property of the paper and serves as a dielectric underlay for the Ag nanocubes. Hence, the incident light reflected back from the dielectric nanosheets couples with the scattered light from the Ag nanocubes leading to spatially enhanced electromagnetic field improving the SERS enhancement. The prepared dielectric modified plasmonic-paper has an average enhancement factor (EF) of 1.49 × 107using R6G as a probe molecule. This value is superior to unmodified plasmonic-paper highlighting the coupling effect of the dielectric nanosheets. The substrate shows robust detection performance for thiabendazole and achieves a limit of detection (LOD) of 19 μg/L, which is 4-fold more sensitive than unmodified plasmonic paper. Direct swabbing test of thiabendazole sprayed apple fruit shows a discernible Raman signal down to 15 ppb indicating the utility of the substrate for point-of-need applications in food safety.