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Open Access Nano Express

Surface-enhanced Raman spectra of medicines with large-scale self-assembled silver nanoparticle films based on the modified coffee ring effect

Weiping Zhou1, Anming Hu12*, Shi Bai1, Ying Ma1 and Quanshuang Su1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Laser Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing 100124, China

2 Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee, 509 Doughty Engineering Building, 1512 Middle Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:87  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-87

Published: 19 February 2014


We report here a simple and innovative method to prepare large-scale silver nanoparticle films based on the controlled coffee ring effect. It is demonstrated that the films can be used as surface-enhanced Raman scattering probes to detect low-concentration medicines. Silver nanoparticles with the average size about 70 nm were prepared by reduction of silver nitride. In our experiment, the coffee ring effect was controlled by tilting the substrates during the deposition of silver nanoparticle films. Silver nanoparticle films were spontaneously formed on the surface of silicon substrates at the temperatures about 50°C based on the solvent evaporation and the coffee ring effect. The microstructure of the films was investigated using the scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope. The surface roughness of the films is found as small as 20 nm. Then, the films were exposed to aqueous solutions of medicine at different concentrations. A comparison with a Raman spectra measured with a conventional Raman spectrometer showed that the Raman signal can be detected in the solution with concentrations as low as 1 × 10−5 M, and the enhancement factor achieved by the silver nanoparticle film can at least reach to 1.08 × 104. Our experimental results indicate that this technique is promising in the production of large-scale silver nanoparticle films for the surface-enhanced Raman scattering. These may be utilized in biochemical and trace analytical applications.

Silver nanoparticle film; Coffee ring effect; SERS