Metallic film-coated porous silicon (PSi) has been reported as a lucrative surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate. The solution-based fabrication process is facile and easy; however, it requires additional reducing agent and extra chemical treatment, as well as hinders the suitability as a reproducible SERS substrate due to irregular hot spot generation via irregular deposition of metallic nanocrystallites. To address this issue, we report a unique one-step electronic beam (e-beam) physical vapor deposition (PVD) method to fabricate a consistent layer of gold (Au) nanofilm on PSi. Moreover, to achieve the best output as a SERS substrate, PSi prepared by electrochemical etching was used as template to generate an Au layer of irregular surface, offering the surface roughness feature of the PSi–Au thin film. Furthermore, to investigate the etching role and Au film thickness, Au-nanocrystallites of varying thickness (5, 7, and 10 nm) showing discrete surface morphology were characterized and evaluated for SERS effect using Rhodamine 6G (R6G). The SERS signal of R6G adsorbed on PSi–Au thin film showed a marked enhancement, around three-fold enhancement factor (EF), than the Si–Au thin film. The optimal SERS output was obtained for PSi–Au substrate of 7 nm Au film thickness. This study thus indicates that the SERS enhancement relies on the Au film thickness and the roughness feature of the PSi–Au substrate.
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