Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a highly sensitive technique that enhances the Raman scattering of molecules supported by some nanostructured materials. SERS allows for the structural fingerprinting of low-concentration analytes through the plasmon-mediated amplification of electrical fields or chemical enhancement. Owing to its ultra-high sensitivity and selectivity, SERS has a vast array of applications in surface and interface chemistry, catalysis, nanotechnology, biology, biomedicine, food science, environmental analysis and other areas. This Primer aims to provide interdisciplinary readers with key points regarding SERS methods. We briefly introduce the basic theories of SERS enhancement mechanisms. Details about SERS equipment, SERS-active material preparation and SERS measurements are summarized, followed by results and typical methods for data analysis. Recent applications of SERS in multiple research fields are then highlighted, including probing surface reactions and interfacial charge transfer, structural characterization and chemical/biological sensing. Furthermore, spectral reproducibility, SERS technical limitations and possible optimizations are discussed to provide readers with methodological guidance for the rational design of related studies. The Primer ends with a discussion of promising opportunities for SERS-based research in the future.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (grant nos. 21773079 (X.X.H.), 21773080 (B.Z.) and 21974054 (X.X.H.)) of P. R. China.
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