High-Resolution Distance Dependence Study of Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Enabled by Atomic Layer Deposition

Sicelo S. Masango, Ryan A. Hackler, Nicolas Large, Anne Isabelle Henry, Michael O. McAnally, George C. Schatz*, Peter C. Stair, Richard P. Van Duyne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


We present a high-resolution distance dependence study of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) enabled by atomic layer deposition (ALD) at 55 and 100 °C. ALD is used to deposit monolayers of Al2O3 on bare silver film over nanospheres (AgFONs) and AgFONs functionalized with self-assembled monolayers. Operando SERS is used to measure the intensities of the Al-CH3 and C-H stretches from trimethylaluminum (TMA) as a function of distance from the AgFON surface. This study clearly demonstrates that SERS on AgFON substrates displays both a short- and long-range nanometer scale distance dependence. Excellent agreement is obtained between these experiments and theory that incorporates both short-range and long-range terms. This is a high-resolution operando SERS distance dependence study performed in one integrated experiment using ALD Al2O3 as the spacer layer and Raman label simultaneously. The long-range SERS distance dependence should make it possible to detect chemisorbed surface species located as far as ∼3 nm from the AgFON substrate and will provide new insight into the surface chemistry of ALD and catalytic reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4251-4259
Number of pages9
JournalNano letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2016


  • Surface-enhanced Raman scattering
  • atomic layer deposition
  • distance dependence
  • operando

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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