Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Roger Terrill


Nanoparticle, SERS, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

Subject Areas

Analytical chemistry; Chemistry


Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has fascinated the analytical chemistry field for decades. The SERS phenomenon has progressively leveraged the inherently insensitive Raman phenomenon from a novelty vibrational spectroscopy method into one capable of single molecule detection, with attendant molecular level selectivity and information. Yet, even after 40 years since its discovery, the core mechanism behind this phenomenon is still debated. This thesis presents results from a series of photometric titrations wherein solutions of 30 nm Au@Ag nanoparticles (NPs) were titrated with rhodamine 6G (R6G), spanning five orders of magnitude in R6G concentration, and which elucidate the conditions required for the onset of SERS by R6G in this system. The experiments illustrated the correlation between the Raman response and the plasmonic (via UV-Vis spectroscopy) properties of the nanoparticle solutions. It was found that the onset of R6G SERS was related much more closely to the aggregation of the nanoparticles in solution than to their R6G adsorbed surface coverage. However, triggering aggregation with sodium chloride appeared to enhance SERS by an independent mechanism, which is operative only at low, i.e., [NaCl] > 100 mM concentration.