2p or not 2p: tuppence-based SERS for the detection of illicit materials.

Samuel Mabbott, Alex Eckmann, Cinzia Casiraghi, Royston Goodacre

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Deposition of silver onto British 2p coins has been demonstrated as an efficient and cost effective approach to producing substrates capable of promoting surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Silver application to the copper coins is undemanding taking just 20 s, and results in the formation of multiple hierarchial dendritic structures. To demonstrate that the silver deposition sites were capable of SERS the highly fluorescent Rhodamine 6G (R6G) probe was used. Analyses indicated that Raman enhancement only occurs at the silver deposition sites and not from the roughened copper surface. The robustness of the substrate in the identification and discrimination of illegal and legal drugs of abuse was then explored. Application of the drugs to the substrates was carried out using spotting and soaking methodologies. Whilst little or no SERS spectra of the drugs were generated upon spotting, soaking of the substrate in a methanolic solution of the drugs yielded a vast amount of spectral information. Excellent reproducibility of the SERS method and classification of three of the drugs, 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone), 5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane (MDAI) and 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) were demonstrated using principal components analysis and partial least squares.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-122
    Number of pages4
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2013


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