Remarkable surface-enhanced Raman scattering on self-assembled {201} anatase

Yu, YQ; Du, JJ; Jing, CY

Jing, CY (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, State Key Lab Environm Chem & Ecotoxicol, Res Ctr Ecoenvironm Sci, Beijing 100085, Peoples R China.; Jing, CY (reprint author), Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China.



Semiconductors exhibit great potential as a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate due to their low cost, stability, and biocompatibility. However, their application has been essentially restricted by their intrinsically low SERS sensitivity (10-10(2)). Herein, sea urchin-like TiO2 was obtained by a self-assembled growth of crystals enclosed with the {201} facet. The high-symmetric spiny spheres exhibited appreciable Raman enhancement factors (EFs) of 1.6 x 10(6), three orders of magnitude higher than those asymmetric TiO2 with exposed {101}, {001}, and {100} facets. The greatest charge transfer upon dopamine adsorption occurred on {201} TiO2 due to its high density of unoccupied t(2g) orbitals, partly contributing to the excellent SERS performance. More importantly, the sea urchin-like spheres created high-density hotspots evenly distributed in the vicinity of sharp tips and at narrow gaps between the spines, enabling a strong electromagnetic field enhancement (1.4 x 10(4)). Benefiting from the specific electronic and morphologic properties, the self-assembled {201} TiO2 exhibited superior SERS performance in terms of both intensity and reproducibility. The insights gained from this study open a new avenue to improve the SERS performance of semiconductors for applications in biomedical analysis, food detection, and toxicity tests.

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