Creating, characterizing, and controlling chemistry with SERS hot spots

Samuel L. Kleinman, Renee R. Frontiera, Anne Isabelle Henry, Jon A. Dieringer, Richard P. Van Duyne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

589 Scopus citations


In this perspective we discuss the roles of hot spots in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). After giving background and defining the hot spot, we evaluate a variety of SERS substrates which often contain hot spots. We compare and discuss the differentiating properties of each substrate. We then provide a thorough analysis of the hot spot contribution to the observed SERS signal both in ensemble-averaged and single-molecule conditions. We also enumerate rules for determining the SERS enhancement factor (EF) to clarify the use of this common metric. Finally, we present a forward-looking overview of applications and uses of hot spots for controlling chemistry on the nanoscale. Although not exhaustive, this perspective is a review of some of the most interesting and promising methodologies for creating, controlling, and using hot spots for electromagnetic amplification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-36
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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