Malwina Liszewska, Bartosz Bartosewicz, Bogusław Budner, Barbara Nasiłowska, Mateusz Szala, Jan L. Weyher, Igor Dzięcielewski, Zygmunt Mierczyk, Bartłomiej J. Jankiewicz
Raman spectroscopy has become an essential analytical technique for field detection and identification of illicit or dangerous materials such as explosives, but its main drawback is low signal intensity. This problem can be circumvented by using surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), in which scattering signals increase significantly for analytes adsorbed onto or near nano structured surfaces of the plasmonic materials. However,despite numerous studies, SERS has still not been widely used in real-world applications. The main goal of the studies describe herein was to investigate the possibility of detection of trace amounts of selected explosive materials on various commercial and non-commercial SERS substrates using portable Raman instruments. Our studies have shown that while portable systems suitable for SERS measurement of trace amounts of explosives are readily available, the problem remains in the selection of reliable and reproducible SERS substrates. Among five investigated SERS substrates only two, Klarite 312 and GaN-pillars allowed for trace analysis of all studied explosive materials. In both cases, detected concentrations of explosives ranged from single to hundreds of μg/cm2 depending on the explosive material and the Raman spectrometer used. Based on our findings, it could be concluded that the best SERS substrates for trace analysis of explosives are substrates with hot spots densely and evenly distributed over a whole active area of SERS substrate
Keywords: Explosives, SERS, SERS substrates, Portable Raman spectroscopy, Trace detection