In this work, the preparation of magneto-plasmonic granular nanostructures and their evaluation as efficient substrates for magnetically assisted surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensing are discussed. These nanostructures consist of star-shaped gold Au shell grown on iron oxide Fe3-xO4 multicores. They were prepared by seed-mediated growth of anisotropic, in shape gold nanosatellites attached to the surface of polyol-made iron oxide polycrystals. In practice, the 180 nm-sized spherical iron oxide particles were functionalized by (3-aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTES) to become positively charged and to interact, in solution, with negatively charged 2 nm-sized Au single crystals, leading to nanohybrids. These hybrids acted subsequently as nucleation platforms for the growth of a branched gold shell, when they were contacted to a fresh HAuCl4 gold salt aqueous solution, in the presence of hydroquinone, a reducing agent, for an optimized nominal weight ratio between both the starting hybrids and the gold salt. As expected, the resulting nanocomposites exhibit a high saturation magnetization at room temperature and a rough enough plasmonic surface, making them easily attracted by a lab. magnet, while exhibiting a great number of SERS hot spots. Preliminary SERS detection assays were successfully performed on diluted aqueous thiram solution (10−8 M), using these engineered substrates, highlighting their capability to be used as chemical trace sensors.
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