Background Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) based on highly sensitive, flexible, solid-state sensors can provide molecular vibrational fingerprints of targeted substances in point-of-care (POC) analysis. Cellulose paper offers many advantages for the build-up of silver and gold nanostructures on a three-dimensional scaffold. Such composites can be made to contain SERS hot spots required for sensitive SERS detection in an active solid-state sensor.
Scope and approach In this review, we discuss the key technical issues involved in the fabrication of SERS sensors combining a metallic SERS substrate and a cellulose paper support. We then survey recent literature for methods designed to address these issues with applications to support food safety where POC analysis serves as a valuable tool.
Key findings and conclusions Sensitivity of detection is a primal challenge in the development of a paper-based SERS substrate. The fibril structures of paper materials, a suitable modification for improved bonding at the paper-metal interface, and the surface conditions of metal nanostructures all contribute to sensitive SERS performance on paper. Continuing expansion of spectrum collection in a database format, diverse methods for the statistical analyses of Raman spectra, and advanced integration of portable Raman instruments with the mobile tele-networks are critical in the further development of flexible SERS sensor in POC testing of food-borne substances.
Trends in Food Science & Technology 100, P.349-358