Lighting Up the Raman Signal of Molecules in the Vicinity of Graphene Related Materials

Xi Ling, Shengxi Huang, Shibin Deng, Nannan Mao, Jing Kong, Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Jin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Conspectus Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a popular technique to detect the molecules with high selectivity and sensitivity. It has been developed for 40 years, and many reviews have been published to summarize the progress in SERS. Nevertheless, how to make the SERS signals repeatable and quantitative and how to have deeper understanding of the chemical enhancement mechanism are two big challenges. A strategy to target these issues is to develop a Raman enhancement substrate that is flat and nonmetal to replace the conventional rough and metal SERS substrate. At the same time, the newly developed substrate should have a strong interaction with the adsorbate molecules to guarantee strong chemical enhancement. The flatness of the surface allows better control of the molecular distribution and configuration, while the nonmetal surface avoids disturbance of the electromagnetic mechanism.Recently, graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials, which have an ideal flat surface and strong chemical interaction with plenty of organic molecules, were developed to be used as Raman enhancement substrates, which can light up the Raman signals of the molecules, and these substrates were demonstrated to be a promising for microspecies or trace species detection. This effect was named "graphene enhanced Raman scattering (GERS)". The GERS technique offers significant advantages for studying molecular vibrations due to the ultraflat and chemically inert 2D surfaces, which are newly available, especially in developing a quantitative and repeatable signal enhancement technique, complementary to SERS. Moreover, GERS is a chemical mechanism dominated effect, which offers a valuable model to study the details of the chemical mechanism.In this Account, we summarize the systematic studies exploring the character of GERS. In addition, as a practical technique, the combination of GERS with a metal substrate incorporates the advantages from both conventional SERS and GERS. The introduction of graphene to the Raman enhancement substrate extended SERS applications in a more controllable and quantitative way. Looking to the future, we expect the combination of the SERS concept with the GERS technology to lead to the solution of some important issues in chemical dynamics and in biological processes monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1862-1870
Number of pages9
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry


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