Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SeRS)

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SeRS) is a chemical and biological sensing technique that has been around for nearly three decades.  Even considering SeRS continuity, researchers are still studying the technique and developing new innovations in raman spectroscopy.  The technique is founded on the phenomena that excited electrons on the surface of materials produce observable changes in wavelength when a photon undergoes inelastic light scattering (Raman Effect).  The Raman Effect is the result of the excitement or relaxation of a molecule’s vibrational mode.  One can enhance this Raman Effect by placing the material being examined on a roughened, nanothin layer of a native metal such as gold, copper or silver[1]

SeRS allows for detection of a number of biological and chemical analytes ranging from anthrax to bacteria to radionuclides.  SeRS is used to improve food safety, enhance human health, and detect threats to human health and national security.  Additionally, SeRS can be used in portable, low-cost applications for field investigation in rural or urban environments.  SeRS is used in the public and private sectors as well as academia.



Product Name: 

Development Stage: 

Key Words: 



The addition of native metal thin films greatly amplifies the Raman Effect, allowing scientists to detect matter as small as a single molecule.




Benefit Summary: 

This technology has improved food safety and national security by allowing cheap and accurate sensing of chemical and biological agents. The use of SeRS is ubiquitous and is used in a number of industries and sectors both public and private. Additionally, advancements in the science and technology of SeRS is ongoing, creating new and improved applications for SeRS.

Risk Summary: 

There are few environmental or ecological risks associated with SeRS.