Optimization of film over nanosphere substrate fabrication for SERS sensing of the allergen soybean agglutinin

Matthew J. Styles, Rebeca S. Rodriguez, Victoria M. Szlag, Samuel Bryson, Zhe Gao, Seyoung Jung, Theresa M. Reineke, Christy L. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Metal film over nanosphere (FON) substrates are a mainstay of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) measurements because they are inexpensive to fabricate, have predictable enhancement factors, and are relatively robust. This work includes a systematic investigation of how the three major FON fabrication parameters—nanosphere size, deposited metal thickness, and metal choice—impact the resulting localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). With these three parameters, it is quite simple to fabricate FONs with an optimal LSPR for SERS experiments with various excitation wavelengths. Some SERS experiments require that the substrates be incubated in organic solvents that have the potential to damage the substrate; as such, this work also explores how solvent incubation impacts the physical and optical properties of the FON substrate. Although no significant increase in physical damage is obvious, the LSPR does shift significantly. Finally, these optimized FONs were employed for the sensing of an important allergen, soybean agglutinin. The FONs were modified with a glycopolymer that has affinity for soybean agglutinin and clear Raman bands demonstrate detection of 10 μg/ml soybean agglutinin. Overall, this work serves the dual purpose of both sharing critical details about FON design and demonstrating detection of an important lectin analyte.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-490
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Raman Spectroscopy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 4 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support for this work was provided by the University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry David A. and Merece H Johnson scholarship (MJS), the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Fellowship and the Mistletoe Foundation (RSR), the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (SB), and the MRSEC program of the National Science Foundation under award DMR‐0819885 at the University of Minnesota (VMS). The SEM images were taken in the University of Minnesota Characterization Facility, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. Isothermal titration calorimetry was carried out using an ITC‐200 microcalorimeter, funded by the NIH Shared Instrumentation grant S10‐OD017982. MJS would also like to acknowledge Antonio Campos for his mentorship during this project.


  • FON
  • SERS
  • allergen
  • biosensing
  • stability

MRSEC Support

  • Partial


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