Feasibility of SERS-Active Porous Ag Substrates for the Effective Detection of Pyrene in Water
Authors: Capaccio A.; Sasso A.; Rusciano G.
Autors Affiliation: Department of Physics “”E. Pancini””, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, 80126, Italy; National Research Council-National Istitute of Optics (CNR-INO), Pozzuoli, 80078, Italy
Abstract: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous pollutants that are typically released into the environment during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Due to their relevant carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and teratogenicity, it is urgent to develop sensitive and cost-effective strategies for monitoring them, especially in aqueous environments. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) can potentially be used as a reliable approach for this purpose, as it constitutes a valid alternative to traditional techniques, such as liquid and gas chromatography. Nevertheless, the development of an SERS-based platform for detection PAHs has so far been hindered by the poor adsorption of PAHs onto silver-and gold-based SERS-active substrates. To overcome this limitation, several research efforts have been directed towards the development of functionalized SERS substrates for the improvement of PAH adsorption. However, these strategies suffer from the interference that functionalizing molecules can produce in SERS detection. Herein, we demonstrate the feasibility of label-free detection of pyrene by using a highly porous 3D-SERS substrate produced by an inductively coupled plasma (ICP). Thanks to the coral-like nanopattern exhibited by our substrate, clear signals ascribable to pyrene molecules can be observed with a limit of detection of 23 nM. The observed performance can be attributed to the nanoporous character of our substrate, which combines a high density of hotspots and a certain capability of trapping molecules and favoring their adhesion to the Ag nanopattern. The obtained results demonstrate the potential of our substrates as a large-area, label-free SERS-based platform for chemical sensing and environmental control applications.
Journal/Review: SENSORS (BASEL)
Volume: 22 (7) Pages from: 2764-1 to: 2764-11
KeyWords: surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS); Ag nanostructures; PAH detection; environment monitoringDOI: 10.3390/s22072764