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Comparative Study of the Adsorption of Thiol and Isocyanide Molecules on a Silver Surface by in Situ Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering

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journal contribution
posted on 26.08.2019, 18:36 by Jaewan Ahn, Shi Shi, Bonnie Vannatter, Dong Qin
We report an investigation of the adsorption of thiol and isocyanide molecules on colloidal Ag nanocubes through surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Specifically, we collect SERS spectra in situ at different time points from a mixture of Ag nanocubes and ligand molecules at a specific concentration. We demonstrate that 4-nitrothiophenol could readily bind to the Ag surface through strong thiol–Ag interaction. We also observe red shifts for the SERS peaks as the concentration decreases, suggesting a change to the molecular orientation relative to the surface. Likewise, 4-aminothiophenol also adsorbs onto Ag quickly, but gives much weaker SERS signals relative to 4-nitrothiophenol because the electron-donating amine group would retard the chemical enhancement of SERS. Different from thiols, 1,4-phenylene diisocyanide binds to Ag surface through a relatively weak, σ-donation bond. With an increase in concentration, molecules tend to adsorb on the nanocubes with the benzene ring tilting away from the surface. We further investigate the competitive binding of thiol and isocyanide, demonstrating the capability of thiol to inhibit the adsorption of isocyanide when these two ligands are presented in a mixture.