Comparison of the performance of three SERS substrates for detection of food contaminants
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The use of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to detect food contaminants has become an applicable and effective method as the food safety issues intensify and the requirement for quick and sensitive detecting technology became more demanding. Among dozens of SERS substrates fabricated for analysis, there is an urgent need to evaluate their quality and performance. In this study, the performance of three commercial SERS substrates (Klarite, Q-SERS, and SILMECO) was evaluated. Evaluations were conducted based on several criteria, including sampling method, enhancement factor, in-substrate variability, substrate-to-substrate reproducibility, linearity, limit of detection, and stability. Results show that all three SERS substrates can enhance the Raman signals to some extent and be able to maintain relatively good linearity and stability. However, improvements should be made in terms of in-substrate variability, substrate-to-substrate reproducibility, and limit of detection, to satisfy the strict requirements for real world applications. Among these three substrates, SILMECO exhibits superior performance in terms of enhancement factor, substrate-to-substrate reproducibility, linearity, and limit of detection; while Klarite exhibits good in-substrate uniformity and stability. In general, SILMECO can be a good choice considering its superiority and medium price.
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