Since surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is of considerable interest for sensing applications in aqueous solution, the role that solvent plays in the spectroscopy must be understood. However, these efforts are hindered due to a lack of simulation approaches for modeling solvent effects in SERS. In this work, we present an atomistic electrodynamics-quantum mechanical method to simulate SERS in aqueous solution based on the discrete interaction model/quantum mechanical method. This method combines an atomistic electrodynamics model of the nanoparticle with a time-dependent density functional theory description of the molecule and a polarizable embedding method for the solvent. The explicit treatment of solvent molecules and nanoparticles results in a large number of polarizable dipoles that need to be considered. To reduce the computational cost, a simple cut-off based approach has been implemented to limit the number of dipoles that need to be treated without sacrificing accuracy. As a test of this method, we have studied how solvent affects the SERS of pyridine in the junction between two nanoparticles in aqueous solution. We find that the solvent leads to an enhanced SERS due to an increased local field at the position of the pyridine. We further demonstrate the importance of both image field and local field effects in determining the enhancements and the spectral signatures. Our results show the importance of describing the local environment due to the solvent molecules when modeling SERS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry