Critical role of adsorption equilibria on the determination of surface- enhanced Raman enhancement

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a useful technique for probing analyte–noble metal interactions and determining thermodynamic properties such as their surface reaction equilibrium constants and binding energies. In this study, we measure the binding equilibrium constants and Gibbs free energy of binding for a series of nitrogen-containing aromatic molecules adsorbed on Klarite substrates. A dual Langmuir dependence of the SERS intensity on concentration was observed for the six species studied, indicating the presence of at least two different binding energies. We relate the measured binding energies to the previously described SERS enhancement value (SEV) and show that the SEV is proportional to the traditional SERS enhancement factor G, with a constant of proportionality that is critically dependent on the adsorption equilibrium constant determined from the dual Langmuir isotherm. We believe the approach described is generally applicable to many SERS substrates, both as a prescriptive approach to determining their relative performance and as a probe of the substrate’s affinity for a target adsorbate.

A. Tripathi, E. D. Emmons, A. W. Fountain III, J. A. Guicheteau, M. Moskovits, and S. D. Christesen
ACS Nano
Volume: 9
Number: 1
Pages: 584–593
Date: December, 2014
ICB Affiliated Authors: Martin Moskovits