Determination of resonance Raman cross-sections for use in biological SERS sensing with femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy

W. Ruchira Silva, Emily L. Keller, Renee R. Frontiera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a promising technique for in vivo bioanalyte detection, but accurate characterization of SERS biosensors can be challenging due to difficulties in differentiating resonance and surface enhancement contributions to the Raman signal. Here, we quantitate the resonance Raman cross-sections for a commonly used near-infrared SERS dye, 3,3′-diethylthiatricarbocyanine (DTTC). It is typically challenging to measure resonance Raman cross-sections for fluorescent dye molecules due to the overwhelming isoenergetic fluorescence signal. To overcome this issue, we used etalon-based femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy, which is intrinsically designed to acquire a stimulated Raman signal without strong fluorescence or interference from signals resulting from other four-wave mixing pathways. Using this technique, we found that the cross-sections for most of the resonantly enhanced modes in DTTC exceed 10-25 cm2/molecule. These cross-sections lead to high signal magnitude SERS signals from even weakly enhancing SERS substrates, as much of what appears to be a SERS signal is actually coming from the intrinsically strong resonance Raman signal. Our work will lead to a more accurate determination of SERS enhancement factors and SERS substrate characterization in the biologically relevant near-infrared region, ultimately leading to a more widespread use of SERS for biosensing and bioimaging applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7782-7787
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 5 2014


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