Nanomaterials, Vol. 9, Pages 1401: Comparison of Free-Space and Waveguide-Based SERS Platforms

Research paper by Nina Turk, Ali Raza, Pieter Wuytens, Hans Demol, Michiel Van Daele, Christophe Detavernier, Andre Skirtach, Kris Gevaert, Roel Baets

Indexed on: 27 Jan '21Published on: 01 Oct '19Published in: Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland)


Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) allows for the highly specific detection of molecules by enhancing the inherently weak Raman signals near the surface of plasmonic nanostructures. A variety of plasmonic nanostructures have been developed for SERS signal excitation and collection in a conventional free-space microscope, among which the gold nanodomes offer one of the highest SERS enhancements. Nanophotonic waveguides have recently emerged as an alternative to the conventional Raman microscope as they can be used to efficiently excite and collect Raman signals. Integration of plasmonic structures on nanophotonic waveguides enables reproducible waveguide-based excitation and collection of SERS spectra, such as in nanoplasmonic slot waveguides. In this paper, we compare the SERS performance of gold nanodomes, in which the signal is excited and collected in free space, and waveguide-based nanoplasmonic slot waveguide. We evaluate the SERS signal enhancement and the SERS background of the different SERS platforms using a monolayer of nitrothiophenol. We show that the nanoplasmonic slot waveguide approaches the gold nanodomes in terms of the signal-to-background ratio. We additionally demonstrate the first-time detection of a peptide monolayer on a waveguide-based SERS platform, paving the way towards the SERS monitoring of biologically relevant molecules on an integrated lab-on-a-chip platform.