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Tuneable Metamaterial-like Platforms for Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering via Three-Dimensional Block Co-polymer-Based Nanoarchitectures

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journal contribution
posted on 18.03.2019, 00:00 by Carl Banbury, Jonathan James Stanley Rickard, Sumeet Mahajan, Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) pushes past the boundaries and inherent weaknesses of Raman spectroscopy, with a great potential for a broad range of applications particularly, for sensing. Yet, current real world applications are limited due to poor reproducibility, low-throughput, and stability issues. Here, we present the design and fabrication of self-assembly guided structures based on adjustable block co-polymer (BCP) nanomorphologies and demonstrate reproducible SERS enhancement across large areas. Golden three-dimensional (3D) nanostructured morphologies with controllable dimensions and morphologies exhibit high chemical stability, enhanced plasmonic properties and are highly suitable for SERS substrates due to the strong enhancement of the electromagnetic field. Adjustable, free standing porous nanostructures, continuous in 3D space are achieved by removal of selected BCP constituents. Four BCP morphologies and the corresponding achievable enhancement factors are investigated at 633 and 785 nm excitation wavelengths. The choice of excitation laser is shown to greatly affect the observed signal enhancement, highlighting the sensitivity of the technique to the underlying surface architecture and length scales. By using BCP assemblies, it is possible to reliably tune these parameters to match specific applications, thus bridging the gap toward the realization of applied metamaterials. The fabricated SERS platforms via three-dimensional block co-polymer-based nanoarchitectures provide a recipe for intelligent engineering and design of optimized SERS-active substrates for utilization in the Raman spectroscopy-based devices toward enabling the next-generation technologies fulfilling a multitude of criteria.