Nanocrystalline graphene for ultrasensitive surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Giuliana Faggio, Rossella Grillo, Nicola Lisi, Francesco Buonocore, Rosa Chierchia, Min Jung Kim, Gwan Hyoung Lee, Andrea Capasso, Giacomo Messina

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The development of ultrasensitive and biocompatible Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) substrates, able to provide uniform and reproducible signals, has become a focus of study in the last decade. Graphene, with his advantageous properties, such as photoluminescence quenching of fluorescent dyes, chemical inertness and biocompatibility, allows to overcome many important limitations of conventional metal SERS substrates. In this work, we develop ultrasensitive graphene substrates by ethanol Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Large-area thin films composed of nanosized sp2 grains surrounded by disordered regions are obtained by lowering the growth temperature from the standard 1070 °C to 700 °C. Our substrates are able to detect trace amounts of molecules, down to 6·10−11 M, which is the lowest concentration that has been achieved in Graphene-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (GERS) with rhodamine 6G (R6G) as probe molecule. This outstanding result is attributable to two main features: i) more efficient charge transfer due to the energy level matching between R6G and the nanocrystalline graphene film; ii) large number of grain boundaries acting as “trapping sites” for the molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154035
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication is co-financed with the support of the European Commission, the European Social Fund, and the Calabria Region (CUP: C31J19000010002).

Funding Information:
G.H.L acknowledges the supports from Basic Science Research Program and the International Research & Development Program through the NRF of Korea (2019K1A3A1A25000267, NRF-2021R1A2C3014316) and Creative-Pioneering Researchers Program through Seoul National University (SNU).

Funding Information:
The computing resources and the related technical support used for this work have been provided by CRESCO/ENEAGRID High Performance Computing infrastructure and its staff. CRESCO/ENEAGRID High Performance Computing infrastructure is funded by ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development and by Italian and European research programs, see for information.

Funding Information:
A.C. acknowledges the financial support of the project “GEMIS – Graphene-enhanced Electro Magnetic Interference Shielding” with the reference POCI-01-0247-FEDER-045939, co-funded by COMPETE 2020 – Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalization and FCT –Science and Technology Foundation, under the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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