Cones fabricated by 3D nanoimprint lithography for highly sensitive surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.
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We demonstrated a cost-effective and deterministic method of patterning 3D cone arrays over a large area by using nanoimprint lithography (NIL). Cones with tip radius of less than 10 nm were successfully duplicated onto the UV-curable imprint resist materials from the silicon cone templates. Such cone structures were shown to be a versatile platform for developing reliable, highly sensitive surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates. In contrast to the silicon nanocones, the SERS substrates based on the Au coated cones made by the NIL offered significant improvement of the SERS signal. A further improvement of the SERS signal was observed when the polymer cones were imprinted onto a reflective metallic mirror surface. A sub-zeptomole detection sensitivity for a model molecule, trans-1,2-bis(4-pyridyl)-ethylene (BPE), on the Au coated NIL cone surfaces was achieved.