Surface Enhanced Raman

Nanoparticle enhanced Raman sensors 

What is SERS?

Raman Spectroscopy is a powerful technique that is used to identify a wide range of chemical and biological species. Applications range from detection of narcotics, chemical pollutants, analysis of food stuffs to the development of new pharmaceuticals. 

Surface Enhanced Raman uses the plasmonic properties of nanostructured metals to boost the sensitivity of Raman spectroscopy to enable detection of ppm and ppb levels. Nanostructured gold and silver both offer enhanced Raman signals. In spite of the success of SERS there is still a need for cheap, reliable and sensitive point of use diagnostics. 

Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy - The materials difference
Surface enhanced Raman

Applications of SERS


drugs, explosives


Pesticides, food contamination


new medicines, toxicology


air pollution, gas sensing, drinking water quality


biological sensors, proteins, saccharides, Antibody assays

Surface Enhanced Raman Sensors

Nikalyte has developed SERS technology combining state of the art sensitivity with low cost and flexibility. 

Using Nikalyte’s signature vacuum nanoparticle deposition technique we have demonstrated ppb level detection sensitivity for analytes including caffeine, Heroin, Fentanyl and Amphetamine. Unlike nanoparticles synthesized chemically our vacuum nanoparticles are ultra-pure and both  hydrocarbon and ligand free. The bare nanoparticles have more free bonds at the surface to bind with the target analyte, thus enhancing detection sensitivity. 

5he line of sight deposition process enables uniform nanoparticle coating of both textured and planar substrates. Deposition also occurs at room temperature thus enabling a wide choice of substrates including filter paper, plastic and glass. 

You can now try out Nikalyte’s SERS substrates in your own lab.  Visit our online portal to order your substrates from as little at £6 per substrate

Raman signal for ppb caffeine solution

Raman detection of Narcotics

Nikalyte gold SERs substrates show high sensitivity and high specificity for the detection of narcotics such as Fentanyl, Heroin, MDMA, Methamphetamine and Amphetamine.  

Raman spectrum for Fentanyl
Raman spectrum for 1mg/ml Fentanyl solution measured using Nikalyte gold nanoparticle SERs substrates
Normalised Raman spectrum for Fentanyl and Amphetamine
Normalised Raman spectra for Fentanyl and Amthetamine measured using Nikalyte SERs substrates

High sensitivity to a wide range of narcotics

..high signal to noise Raman signal for wide range of molecules

High specificity

..identify similar molecules with high confidence

Ideally suited for lab or field use special storage conditions
..robust and portable sensors

Fundamental Raman Research

If you are interested in fundamental SERS research the NL50 is the perfect nanoparticle tool for you. The easy to use and compact NL50 has been designed specifically for the preparation of plasmonic materials such as gold and silver. 

NL 50 Particle Disposition System

Ideal for plasmonic materials

..ideally suited to generate gold and silver materials

Control over nanoparticle properties

..real time control over nanoparticle density
..control over nanoparticle size

Ultra-pure nanoparticles

..nanoparticles are ultra pure and ligand free
..bare nanoparticles are more sensitive to analyte

Flexibility of substrate

..deposit on any substrate including filter paper, plastic or glass
..choose substrate to suit your application and Raman excitation wavelength

Contact Nikalyte to find out more about the NL50 or to arrange an online demo. 

Nanoparticle size control

Prepare crystalline nanoparticles of different sizes using the NL50. Gold nanoparticles are a perfect candidate for SERS due to their combination of well documented optical properties, biocompatability and long term stability to oxidation. The NL50 is ideally suited to the research and development of nanoparticle SERS, where researchers can explore the effects of nanoparticle properties on the sensor performance. 

Size control of gold nanoparticles in the NL50
Gold Nanoparticles deposited in the NL50
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