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Electroless Deposition of Silver Onto Silicon as a Method of Preparation of Reproducible Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Substrates and Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Tips

Volume 64, Number 5 (May 2010) Page 493-499

Brejna, Przemysław R.; Griffiths, Peter R.

A simple method for the production of silver nanoparticles on a silicon substrate that is suitable for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is presented. The method is based on spontaneous reduction of Ag+ ions by elemental silicon. The oxide layer is removed from the surface of a silicon disk by etching with dilute HF that is present in the same dilute solution of silver nitrate that is used to form the silver nanoparticles. By controlling the concentrations of HF and AgNO3, the morphology of the deposited silver nanostructures can be varied dramatically. The reproducibility of SERS measurements for substrates produced with a given concentration of HF and AgNO3 is good (relative standard deviation ∼ 10%). The application was extended to coating the tips of silicon cantilevers designed for atomic force microscopy (AFM) with silver nanoparticles to permit measurements of tip-enhanced Raman spectra (TERS). The feasibility of TERS measurements with AFM tips prepared in this way is demonstrated.