Allie Meyerhoefer (Wright State University, USA), Adam Stahler (Wright State University, USA), Khadijeh Alnajjar (Wright State University, USA), Jennifer Monahan (Wright State University, USA), Joshua Baker (Wright State University, USA), Ioana Sizemore (Wright State University, USA)
Recently, at Wright State University a new physical chemistry and nanotechnology laboratory for undergraduate and graduate students was successfully implemented. The surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-based sensing capabilities of colloidal silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was determined by estimating their analytical (AEF) and surface (SEF) enhancement factors. Raman, SERS, and fluorescence measurements were performed after incubating the test probe, Rhodamine 6G (R6G, 10^-6 M), with AgNPs that were synthesized using the well-known Creighton method. In pre-resonance conditions the AEF and SEF were estimated to be 2.3 x 10^5 and 1.6 x 10^2, respectively. Students who performed this laboratory experiment gained valuable insight into the basic principles of SERS spectroscopy and acquired essential instrumental and nanotechnology-based skills necessary for technologically challenging future careers. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being extremely poor and 10 being excellent, student pre- and post-lab evaluations scored this laboratory experiment at 8.2 and 8.9, respectively.