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Selective detection of TNT withmodified SERS-surfaces: Investigation of TNT adsorption and detection using goldand silver nano structured surfaces modified by cysteineand cysteamine
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the search for trace amounts of explosives in various environmental samples, the

analytical procedure is in need of improvements. If it is for national security or for

environmental purposes the detection of trace amounts of for example 2,4,6-

trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a costly and time consuming procedure. The use of Raman

spectrometry for trace amounts detection is one of the research areas that are in the

advancement and mainly because of the discovery of Surface-Enhanced Raman

spectroscopy (SERS). Raman spectrometry detects the inelastically scattered light

from molecules giving a fingerprint spectrum that can be interpreted and species can

be detected. The inelastically scattering of light only occurs in a small amount of the

molecules making the signal low and sensitive for interferences. SERS enhances the

signal from the molecules making it possible to detect very low concentrations. The

surfaces used in SERS need to be selective for the wanted species to be useful for the

analysis of environmental samples that often contains a wide variety of compounds.

This project’s aim was to investigate the possibility of modifying gold- and silvercoated

SERS surfaces (provided by DTU Nanotech) to get a selective detection of

trace amounts of TNT in water and air samples.

The results from the modification indicated some problems with the surfaces. The

modification molecules were cysteine or cysteamine. The hypothesis was that both of

them should bind to the surface by sulphur bond. But for cysteine this was not the

case. The results indicated a binding of the carboxyl group making the use of the

modification for the selective detection of TNT impossible. The modification by

cysteamine was more successful but the detection of TNT in water samples was hard

to get clear results from. The detection of TNT in air samples was carried out by a

method never tested before using a so-called Linkam cell in conjunction with a TNT

treated GC-column which together create a controlled environment. The results from

this experiment were very positive where a clear SERS-signal from TNT could be


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 29 p.
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56599OAI: diva2:536052
External cooperation
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Available from: 2012-06-21 Created: 2012-06-21 Last updated: 2012-06-21Bibliographically approved

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