Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy probes adsorbates on a plasmonic substrate and offers high sensitivity with molecular identification capabilities. In this study, we present a refined methodology for considering the supporting substrate in the computation of the Raman spectra. The supporting substrate is taken into account by employing a periodic slab model when doing the geometry optimization and normal mode analysis, and then the Raman spectrum is calculated for the isolated molecule but with the normal modes from the surface structure. We find that the interaction with the surface induces internal distortion in the molecule, and spectral shifts in the computed Raman spectrum. By comparing a low temperature surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy measurement of Rhodamine 6G (R6G) with the computed Raman spectra of a series of adsorption geometries, we propose that the binding state captured in the experiment tends to possess the least internal distortion. This binding state involves upward orientation of ethylamine on R6G, and our calculations indicate that this is the lowest energy adsorption structure. Following this route, it is possible to infer both a molecular orientation and an adsorption geometry of the molecule from its Raman spectrum. Importantly, we note that, if the substrate correction is established to play a role, we also discuss that this corrected approach still has several shortcomings that significantly limit its overall accuracy in comparison with experimental spectra.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films