Nanostructured organic semiconductor films for molecular detection with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Mehmet Yilmaz, Esra Babur, Mehmet Ozdemir, Rebecca L. Gieseking, Yavuz Dede, Ugur Tamer, George C Schatz, Antonio Facchetti, Hakan Usta, Gokhan Demirel

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62 Citations (Scopus)


π-Conjugated organic semiconductors have been explored in several optoelectronic devices, yet their use in molecular detection as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-active platforms is unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that SERS-active, superhydrophobic and ivy-like nanostructured films of a molecular semiconductor, α,ω-diperfluorohexylquaterthiophene (DFH-4T), can be easily fabricated by vapour deposition. DFH-4T films without any additional plasmonic layer exhibit unprecedented Raman signal enhancements up to 3.4 × 103 for the probe molecule methylene blue. The combination of quantum mechanical computations, comparative experiments with a fluorocarbon-free α,ω-dihexylquaterthiophene (DH-4T), and thin-film microstructural analysis demonstrates the fundamental roles of the π-conjugated core fluorocarbon substitution and the unique DFH-4T film morphology governing the SERS response. Furthermore, Raman signal enhancements up to ∼1010 and sub-zeptomole (<10-21 mole) analyte detection were accomplished by coating the DFH-4T films with a thin gold layer. Our results offer important guidance for the molecular design of SERS-active organic semiconductors and easily fabricable SERS platforms for ultrasensitive trace analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-924
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Yilmaz, M., Babur, E., Ozdemir, M., Gieseking, R. L., Dede, Y., Tamer, U., Schatz, G. C., Facchetti, A., Usta, H., & Demirel, G. (2017). Nanostructured organic semiconductor films for molecular detection with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Nature Materials, 16(9), 918-924.