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Electromigrated Nanoscale Gaps for Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 02.04.2020, 16:54 by Daniel R. Ward, Nathaniel K. Grady, Carly S. Levin, Naomi J. Halas, Yanpeng Wu, Peter Nordlander, Douglas Natelson
Single-molecule detection with chemical specificity is a powerful and much desired tool for biology, chemistry, physics, and sensing technologies. Surface-enhanced spectroscopies enable single-molecule studies, yet reliable substrates of adequate sensitivity are in short supply. We present a simple, scaleable substrate for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) incorporating nanometer-scale electromigrated gaps between extended electrodes. Molecules in the nanogap active regions exhibit hallmarks of very high Raman sensitivity, including blinking and spectral diffusion. Electrodynamic simulations show plasmonic focusing, giving electromagnetic enhancements approaching those needed for single-molecule SERS.