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Statler College of Engineering and Mining Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


For surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensors, one of the important issues is the development of substrates not only with high SERS-activity but also with strong ability to capture analytes. However, it is difficult to achieve the two goals simultaneously especially when detecting small molecules. Herein a compact battery-controlled nanostructure-assembled SERS system has been demonstrated for capture and detection of trace small molecule pollutants in water. In this SERS fluidic system, an electrical heating constantan wire covered with the vertically aligned ZnO nanotapers decorated with Ag-nanoparticles is inserted into a glass capillary. A mixture of thermo-responsive microgels, Au-nanorods colloids and analyte solution is then filled into the remnant space of the capillary. When the system is heated by switching on the battery, the thermo-responsive microgels shrink, which immobilizes the analyte and drives the Au-nanorod close to each other and close to the Ag-ZnO nanotapers. This process has also created high-density “hot spots” due to multi-type plasmonic couplings in three-dimensional space, amplifying the SERS signal. This integrated device has been successfully used to measure methyl parathion in lake water, showing a great potential in detection of aquatic pollutants.

Source Citation

Zhou, Q., Meng, G., Zheng, P. et al. A Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Sensor Integrated with Battery-Controlled Fluidic Device for Capture and Detection of Trace Small Molecules. Sci Rep 5, 12865 (2015).


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