Aqueously Dispersed Silver Nanoparticle-Decorated Boron Nitride Nanosheets for Reusable, Thermal Oxidation-Resistant Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) Devices

The impurity-free aqueous dispersions of boron nitride nanosheets (BNNS) allowed the facile preparation of silver (Ag) nanoparticle-decorated BNNS by chemical reduction of an Ag salt with hydrazine in the presence of BNNS. The resultant Ag–BNNS nanohybrids remained dispersed in water, allowing convenient subsequent solution processing. By using substrate transfer techniques, Ag–BNNS nanohybrid thin film coatings on quartz substrates were prepared and evaluated as reusable surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensors that were robust against repeated solvent washing. In addition, because ofthe unique thermal oxidation-resistant properties of the BNNS, the sensor devices may be readily recycled by short-duration high temperature air oxidation to remove residual analyte molecules in repeated runs. The limiting factor associated with the thermal oxidation recycling process was the Ostwald ripening effect of Ag nanostructures.