Title

Targeting improved reproducibility in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy with planar substrates using 3D printed alignment holders

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

4-1-2021

Abstract

Drop-casting is frequently used to deliver a sample for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and can result in inhomogeneous sample distribution during solvent evaporation. While soaking can provide better analyte homogeneity, it may require more sample than is available. Failure to optically sample analyte-rich substrate locations can compromise measurement outcomes. We developed and tested 3D printed SERS substrate holders that provided spatial registry of the dried sample droplet center for subsequent optical measurements. We found that deliberate and controlled spatial offsets (0-900 µm) between the analyte drop center and the laser excitation prevented signal intensity drops of as much as ∼3× and improved reproducibility. Thus, the use of offset-controlled 3D printed holders provided a quick and inexpensive way to improve the reliability of SERS measurements when using the convenient and popular choice of sample drop-casting.

Publication Title

Review of Scientific Instruments

Volume

92

Issue

4

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