Facile One-Pot Synthesis of Nanodot-Decorated Gold-Silver Alloy Nanoboxes for Single-Particle Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Activity.ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Sep 26; 10(38):32526-32535.AA
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is an important, highly sensitive technique for chemical and biological analysis, which is critically dependent upon high-performance metallic substrates. Anisotropic gold (Au)-silver (Ag) alloy nanoboxes are attractive SERS substrates because of the greatly enhanced Raman signals from the strong electromagnetic fields on the sharp corners. Yet, the routine approach of Au-Ag alloy nanobox synthesis is still challenging because of the complicated procedures and use of biologically/environmentally unfriendly reagents. To facilitate the usage of Au-Ag alloy nanoboxes for broad SERS applications, we propose a facile green strategy to synthesize Au-Ag alloy nanoboxes with superior single-particle SERS sensitivity. Our novel straightforward strategy involves HAuCl4 and AgNO3 reduction by ascorbic acid, which is achieved in an aqueous one-pot reaction at ambient temperature. Significantly, the surfaces of the prepared Au-Ag alloy nanoboxes are judiciously designed to introduce nanodots, generating numerous "hot spots" for high Raman signal enhancement as indicated by rigorous numerical simulations. By combining scanning electron microscopy and Raman mapping images, we demonstrate the application of Au-Ag alloy nanoboxes for single-particle sensing SERS activity. The as-prepared Au-Ag alloy nanoboxes are expected to facilitate their further applications in quantitative and ultrasensitive SERS detection.