Salehtash F., Annušová A, Stepura A., Soyka Y, Halahovets Y, Hofbauerová M., Mičušík M., Kotlár M., Nádaždy P., Albrycht P.H., Šiffalovič P., Jergel M., Omastová M. and Majková E.*
The surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) properties of low-dimensional semiconducting MXene nanoflakes have been investigated over the last decade. Despite this fact, the relationship between the surface characteristics and SERSing performance of a MXene layer has yet to be comprehensively investigated and elucidated. This work shows the importance of surface morphology on the overall SERS effect by studying few-layer Ti3C2Tx MXene-based SERS substrates fabricated by vacuum-assisted filtration (VAF) and spray coating on filter paper. The VAF deposition results in a dense MXene layer suitable for SERS with high spot-to-spot and substrate-to-substrate reproducibility, with a significant limit of detection (LoD) of 20 nM for Rhodamine B analyte. The spray-coated MXenes film revealed lower uniformity, with a LoD of 50 nM for drop-casted analytes. Moreover, we concluded that the distribution of the analyte deposited onto the MXene layer is affected by the presence of MXene aggregates created during the deposition of the MXene layer. Accumulation of the analyte molecules in the vicinity of MXene aggregates was observed for drop-casted deposition of the analyte, which affects the resulting SERS enhancement. Ti3C2Tx MXene layers deposited on filter paper by VAF offer great potential as a cost-effective, easy-to-manufacture, yet robust, platform for sensing applications.
Keywords: surface-enhanced Raman scattering; MXene; Rhodamine B; paper substrates; vacuum-assisted filtration