Nanostructured organic semiconductor films for molecular detection with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Mehmet Yilmaz, Esra Babur, Mehmet Ozdemir, Rebecca L. Gieseking, Yavuz Dede, Ugur Tamer, George C. Schatz, Antonio Facchetti, Hakan Usta, Gokhan Demirel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

π-Conjugated organic semiconductors have been explored in several optoelectronic devices, yet their use in molecular detection as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-active platforms is unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that SERS-active, superhydrophobic and ivy-like nanostructured films of a molecular semiconductor, α,ω-diperfluorohexylquaterthiophene (DFH-4T), can be easily fabricated by vapour deposition. DFH-4T films without any additional plasmonic layer exhibit unprecedented Raman signal enhancements up to 3.4 × 103 for the probe molecule methylene blue. The combination of quantum mechanical computations, comparative experiments with a fluorocarbon-free α,ω-dihexylquaterthiophene (DH-4T), and thin-film microstructural analysis demonstrates the fundamental roles of the π-conjugated core fluorocarbon substitution and the unique DFH-4T film morphology governing the SERS response. Furthermore, Raman signal enhancements up to ∼1010 and sub-zeptomole (<10-21 mole) analyte detection were accomplished by coating the DFH-4T films with a thin gold layer. Our results offer important guidance for the molecular design of SERS-active organic semiconductors and easily fabricable SERS platforms for ultrasensitive trace analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)918-924
Number of pages7
JournalNature materials
Volume16
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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