Metallic nanocrystals near ultrasmooth metallic films for surface-enhanced Raman scattering application.
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We studied the effect of the substrate on the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) signals of metallic nanocrystal films by making a direct comparison between cases with metallic and semiconducting substrate surfaces. Ag nanoparticles smaller than 10nm were synthesized and uniform arrays were formed on both ultrasmooth metallic and Si surfaces. These substrates provide reproducible SERS signals with high enhancement factors over large areas. Moreover, a SERS signal about one order of magnitude higher was obtained in the metallic surface case as compared with the Si substrate case, which is attributed to stronger plasmon coupling between the nanoparticles and their charge-conjugate images in the underlying metallic surface. The interpretation of our experimental results was confirmed by our finite difference time domain calculations. The dependence of the interaction between the nanoparticles and the substrate surface on the direction of the incident electromagnetic field is also discussed.