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Size-Tunable Gold Aerogels: A Durable and Misfocus-Tolerant 3D Substrate for Multiplex SERS Detection

Zhou, L.; Peng, Y.; Zhang, N.; Du, R.; Hübner, R.; Wen, X.; Li, D.; Hu, Y.; Eychmüller, A.

The research on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) continuously draws wide attention because of its high detection sensitivity. However, the commonly investigated 2D SERS substrates cannot fully utilize the 3D active focal volume and require a tight focus on the correct plane, retarding signal enhancement and flexible use. Here, self-supported gold aerogels of centimeter-dimension with tunable ligament sizes are designed as 3D SERS substrates, featuring hot spots throughout the entire network. Unveiling a universal ligament-size-effect, the optimized gold aerogel showcases much larger enhancement factors compared to a 8 nm Au film toward dyes, pesticides, and carcinogens (up to 109). Aside from an excellent reusability and an exceptional stability (> 1 month), an outstanding misfocus tolerance (>300 μm along the z-axis) is also demonstrated for such aerogel-based SERS substrates for multiplex detection. This work may expand the application scope of metal aerogels and lay the foundation for designing next-generation 3D SERS substrates.

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-33086
Publ.-Id: 33086