The intensity of surface enhanced Raman scattering from benzoic acid derivatives on mildly roughened, thermally evaporated Ag films shows a remarkably strong dependence on metal grain size. Large grained (slowly deposited) films give a superior response, by up to a factor of 10, to small grained (quickly deposited) films, with films of intermediate grain size yielding intermediate results. The optical field amplification underlying the enhancement mechanism is due to the excitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). Since surface roughness characteristics, as determined by STM, remain relatively constant as a function of deposition rate, it is argued that the contrast in Raman scattering is due to differences in elastic grain boundary scattering of SPPs (leading to different degrees of internal SPP damping), rather than differences in the interaction of SPPs with surface inhomogeneities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
One of us (P.D.) would like to acknowledgeth e support of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the period this work was carried out and funding for travel from grant GR/F 12242f rom the UK Sciencea nd EngineeringR esearchC oun-cil.