What is Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Technology?

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) enables sample detection and characterization. The introduction of nanostructured substrates in the 1990s permitted its application outside laboratories, but it was first discovered in the late 1970s. This article outlines the applications and advantages of SERS technology.

What Is Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Technology?

Image Credit: Nikalyte Ltd

What Is SERS Technology?

SERS is a remarkably sensitive technique that can identify various chemical and biological molecules at very low concentrations. This method can also obtain important structural data about the molecules being tested.

Since it improves the outputs of the Raman scattering process, which is very weak and typically has a scattering rate of 1 in 1 million, SERS is also known as Surface-enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS). The process involves the inelastic scattering of photons with a different frequency than the source that caused the process.

Gold and silver nanoparticles can improve Raman signals, increasing the sensitivity of the Raman spectroscopy and assisting in the detection of ppm and ppb levels.

In What Applications is SERS Technology Used?

SERS technology has a wide range of contemporary uses in and outside laboratories. Its specific applications are listed below for the pharmaceutical, narcotics, food, environmental, and biological industries.


SERS has many uses in the pharmaceutical industry, including drug development and toxicity assessment. SERS can screen for product contamination that, if marketed, could negatively affect the patient and the business.


Law enforcement and border control organizations often use SERS to identify illegal narcotics, like fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and THC, in the lab and the field. Additionally, it can be employed to determine traces of these substances in saliva and urine samples.


SERS in the food business can identify even the slightest trace of pollutants and pesticides in foods, such as Melamine, which was found in infant formula. To ensure high-quality, nutritious products, testing is essential.


SERS can identify and quantify organic and inorganic diseases, nanomaterials, and pollutants while analyzing environmental samples. It can be used on aqueous and airborne contaminants to test air pollution, gas levels, and drinking water quality, all of which are essential for ensuring people’s safety.


SERS is employed in biological and biomedical applications like microbe characterization, pathogen and metabolite detection, cancer diagnosis, and development monitoring.

What SERS Products are Available at Nikalyte?

Nikalyte creates SERS substrates for Raman spectroscopy that can be used in the lab or the field of forensics, life sciences, and narcotics. These SERS active substrates can magnify Raman signals up to 1000 times.

The NL50 is a direct nanoparticle deposition system and a must-have tool for SERS research. The NL50 is a benchtop instrument created to support the preparation of materials such as silver and gold.

The following are a few advantages of the NL50:

  • Suitable for plasmonic materials
  • Compact in size
  • Flexible substrate allowing for the ability to deposit on glass, plastic, or paper
  • Easy to use

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Nikalyte Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Nikalyte Ltd.


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