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Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a powerful technique for sensing molecules proximal to suitable coinage metal surfaces. The physical structure of the SERS-active metal layer and its support is a key design parameter inspiring considerable, and frequently specialized, efforts in substrate fabrication. The necessary gold film structure can arise from both the metallization process and the underlying support structure, and the structure of the support can deliver additional functions including analytical capabilities such as physical filtering. We used electroless plating as a general approach to create a library of SERS substrates: SERS-active gold films on a range of supports made from a variety of materials, made with a mixture of simple and complex fabrication histories, and offering a selection of structurally-derived functions. The result was that supports with existing functions had their capabilities enhanced by the addition of SERS sensing. Electroless plating thus offers a host of beneficial characteristics 3 for nanofabricating multifunctional SERS substrates, including: tolerance to substrate composition and form factor; low equipment overhead requirements; process chemistry flexibility—including compatibility with conventional top-down nanofabrication; and a lengthy history of commercial application as a simple metallization technique. We gold-plated standard nanofabrication-compatible silicon nitride support surfaces with planar and porous architectures, and with native and polymer-grafted surface chemistries. We used the same plating chemistry to form SERS-active gold films on cellulose fibers arrayed in commercial filter paper and formed into nanocellulose paper. In a functional sense, we used electroless plating to augment nanoporous filters, chromatography platforms, and nanofabrication building blocks with SERS capability.



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