SERS and the scientific career of Richard P. Van Duyne (1945–2019)

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This article describes the scientific career of our dear friend Richard P. Van Duyne. Rick was the discoverer of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), and over the period from the mid-1970s until his death in 2019, he served as both the intellectual leader of the field, and the technical genius who pushed the field forward through his numerous inventions and discoveries. Rick's work went through many phases, and even involved a significant period of inactivity that Rick was able to break out of, but especially after 2000, there was a period of incredible creativity that ultimately led to a detailed understanding of what the SERS enhancement factor is all about and also led to fabrication techniques for making optimum SERS substrates such that applications of SERS to a wide variety of real-world problems in sensing became possible. In addition, Rick's SERS work spawned numerous related technologies, including index of refraction sensing based on localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) measurements, and the extension of SERS to its tip-enhanced cousin TERS, to electrochemical versions of SERS and TERS, and to ultrafast nonlinear techniques. The practical applications he pursued included diagnostics for diseases such as cancer, hand-held glucose sensing, and SERS studies related to art conservation. However, Rick's legacy will probably be best known through the numerous students, postdocs, and collaborators that passed through his lab and who are now active researchers in areas related to SERS at universities and industrial labs around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-278
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Raman Spectroscopy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • electrochemistry
  • LSPR
  • plasmon
  • SERS
  • TERS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Spectroscopy

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