Trace analysis and chemical identification on cellulose nanofibers-textured SERS substrates using the "coffee ring" effect

Ruoyang Chen, Liyuan Zhang, Xu Li, Lydia Ong, Ye Gaung Soe, Neil Sinsua, Sally L Gras, Rico F. Tabor, Xungai Wang, Wei Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has the theoretical possibility of detecting chemicals at the single molecular level. This potential is frequently limited, however, by the critical requirements of the surface morphology and mechanical stability of SERS substrates. In this paper, we report a new method for fabricating a SERS substrate with a significantly improved mechanical stability and analytical sensitivity, using cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). We constructed a uniformly CNFs-textured substrate on a glass surface by means of suppressing the "coffee ring" effect of the CNF sessile drop and then introduced an AuNP suspension onto the CNFs-textured substrate by taking advantage of the "coffee ring" effect. A widened detection zone is formed by AuNPs on the CNFs-textured glass, producing a stable SERS substrate for trace analysis and chemical identification. Microscopic and spectroscopic characterizations of the CNF-AuNPs SERS substrate show that the CNFs enhance the stability of both the AuNP clusters and the SERS activity. The CNF-AuNPs SERS substrate is significantly more stable and sensitive than the SERS substrate fabricated by directly depositing the AuNP suspension on a smooth glass surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1060-1067
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017


  • "Coffee ring" effect
  • Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs)
  • Chemical identification
  • Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs)
  • Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)
  • Trace analysis

Cite this