A method for producing metal nanoparticles that when associated with an analyte material will generate an amplified SERS spectrum when the analyte material is illuminated by a light source and a spectrum is recorded. The method for preparing the metal nanoparticles comprises the steps of (i) forming a water-in-oil microemulsion comprising a bulk oil phase, a dilute water phase, and one or more surfactants, wherein the water phase comprises a transition metal ion; (ii) adding an aqueous solution comprising a mild reducing agent to the water-in-oil microemulsion; (iii) stirring the water-in-oil microemulsion and aqueous solution to initiate a reduction reaction resulting in the formation of a fine precipitate dispersed in the water-in-oil microemulsion; and (iv) separating the precipitate from the water-in-oil microemulsion.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under government contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention, including a paid-up license and the right, in limited circumstances, to require the owner of any patent issuing in this invention to license others on reasonable terms.