Supported ultra-thin alumina membranes with graphene as efficient interference enhanced raman scattering platforms for sensing

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The detection of Raman signals from diluted molecules or biomaterials in complex media is still a challenge. Besides the widely studied Raman enhancement by nanoparticle plasmons, interference mechanisms provide an interesting option. A novel approach for amplification platforms based on supported thin alumina membranes was designed and fabricated to optimize the interference processes. The dielectric layer is the extremely thin alumina membrane itself and, its metallic aluminum support, the reflecting medium. A CVD (chemical vapor deposition) single-layer graphene is transferred on the membrane to serve as substrate to deposit the analyte. Experimental results and simulations of the interference processes were employed to determine the relevant parameters of the structure to optimize the Raman enhancement factor (E.F.). Highly homogeneous E.F. over the platform surface are obtained, typically 370 (5%), for membranes with ~100 nm pore depth, ~18 nm pore diameter and the complete elimination of the Al2O3 bottom barrier layer. The combined surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and interference amplification is also demonstrated by depositing ultra-small silver nanoparticles. This new approach to amplify the Raman signal of analytes is easily obtained, low-cost and robust with useful enhancement factors (~400) and allows only interference or combined enhancement mechanisms, depending on the analyte requirements.
Interference, Enhanced Raman Scattering, Alumina Membrane, Graphene, Nanoparticles, Optical Simulations, AFM, SEM
Bibliographic citation
Aguilar-Pujol, M., Ramírez-Jiménez, R., Xifre-Perez, E., Cortijo-Campos, S., Bartolomé, J., Marsal, L. F., & de Andrés, A. (2020). Supported Ultra-Thin Alumina Membranes with Graphene as Efficient Interference Enhanced Raman Scattering Platforms for Sensing. In Nanomaterials (Vol. 10, Issue 5, p. 830). MDPI AG.