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International Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 716527, 7 pages
Research Article

Highly Sensitive Filter Paper Substrate for SERS Trace Explosives Detection

Department of Chemistry, ALERT-DHS Center of Excellence, Center for Chemical Sensors Development, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, P.O. Box 9000, Mayagüez, PR 00681-9000, USA

Received 17 March 2012; Accepted 4 September 2012

Academic Editor: Keith Carron

Copyright © 2012 Pedro M. Fierro-Mercado and Samuel P. Hernández-Rivera. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report on a novel and extremely low-cost surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrate fabricated depositing gold nanoparticles on common lab filter paper using thermal inkjet technology. The paper-based substrate combines all advantages of other plasmonic structures fabricated by more elaborate techniques with the dynamic flexibility given by the inherent nature of the paper for an efficient sample collection, robustness, and stability. We describe the fabrication, characterization, and SERS activity of our substrate using 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, 2,4-dinitrotoluene, and 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene as analytes. The paper-based SERS substrates presented a high sensitivity and excellent reproducibility for analytes employed, demonstrating a direct application in forensic science and homeland security.