A surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrate formed from a plurality of monolayers of polyhedral silver nanocrystals, wherein at least one of the monolayers has polyvinypyrrolidone (PVP) on its surface, and thereby configured for sensing arsenic is described. Highly active SERS substrates are formed by assembling high density monolayers of differently shaped silver nanocrystals onto a solid support. SERS detection is performed directly on this substrate by placing a droplet of the analyte solution onto the nanocrystal monolayer. Adsorbed polymer, polyvinypyrrolidone (PVP), on the surface of the nanoparticles facilitates the binding of both arsenate and arsenite near the silver surface, allowing for highly accurate and sensitive detection capabilities.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Grant Number DE-FG02-02ER46021 awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and Grant Number ESO4705 awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Government has certain rights in the invention.