Partition layer-modified substrates for reversible surface-enhanced Raman scattering detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Courtney L. Jones, Kyle C. Bantz, Christy L. Haynes

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Herein, we present progress towards an analytical sensor for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) on partition layer-modified nanostructured substrates. Specifically, a 1-decanethiol monolayer has been assembled on a silver film over nanospheres substrate to concentrate PAHs within the zone of SERS detection. Both anthracene and pyrene were detected with limits of detection at 300 and 700 pM, respectively. The measured SERS spectra allowed for easy distinction of the two PAH compounds, due to varying peak locations, and insight into the partitioning mechanism. Additionally, exposure to a common environmental interferant, Suwannee River fulvic acid, did not impede the measurement of the PAHs, and the sensor is reusable after a short exposure to 1-octanol. Finally, the utility of this sensing platform for PAH detection was compared to that achievable for other classes of organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors gratefully acknowledge the McNeill group at the University of Minnesota for the fulvic acid sample and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for funding. This work was supported partially by the MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under award number DMR-0819885. Vapor deposition was performed at the University of Minnesota Nanofabrication Center, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.


  • Chemosensor
  • Partition layer
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Surface-enhanced Raman scattering


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