New Raman spectroscopy to “see” particles less than one billionth of a meter

Japanese scientists have developed a new Raman spectroscopy that allows researchers to analyze the chemical composition and structure of metal particles just 0.5-2 nanometers in diameter, the PhysicistS Network reported recently. This latest breakthrough is expected to enable scientists to develop new micromaterials, widely used in electronics, biomedical, chemical and other fields. Metal nanoparticles have a wide range of potential applications and are becoming the “scent” in modern research. Researchers have been able to develop metal nanocrystals with a diameter of only 0.5-2 nanometers (1 nanometer equals one billionth of a meter).

Photo Source: Physicist Sinoxide SNC, finely prepared by the branch-shaped polymer template method, is loaded into the thin silicon shell layer of the plasma stimulus amplifier, significantly enhancing the Raman signal of the SNC to the detectable level.

这些小颗粒被称为“亚纳米簇”(SNC),拥有非常独特的特性。例如,可充当(电)化学反应中出色的催化剂;也会表现出奇特的量子现象,对组成簇的原子数的变化非常敏感等。

However, the existing analytical methods are not competent for SNC detection and research. One method is called Raman spectroscopy, although the traditional Raman spectroscopy method and its variants have been “greatly demonstrated” in many fields, but because of its low sensitivity, the detection of SNC can only be “hopeful”.

In view of this, the team at Tokyo University of Technology has proposed a new way to enhance the performance of Raman spectroscopy and make it competent for SNC analysis.

In the study, the Japanese team worked to improve the performance of the specific Raman spectroscopy, the surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy method. They say adding gold/silver nanoparticles wrapped in a thin shell of inert silica to the sample can amplify the sample’s light signal, improving the sensitivity of the technology. Therefore, they first theoretically determined the optimal size and composition of gold/silver, and found that the 100 nm silver light amplifier can greatly amplify the SNC signal glued to the porous silicon dioxide shell.

“This spectroscopic technique selectively produces Raman signals of substances that are very close to the surface of the optical amplifier, ” explained one of the study’s leaders, Professor Shiji Yamamoto. “

To test the discovery, they measured the Raman spectrum of tin oxide SNC, and found new findings that explain why tin oxide SNC has such high chemical catalytic activity — related to its atoms.

Yamamoto concluded that the new breakthrough is critical to expanding the application of subnanomaterials in various fields such as biosensors, electronics and catalysts.

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