The enhancement mechanism due to the molecule–surface chemical interaction in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been characterized using a theoretical approach based on time dependent density functional theory. This includes a systematic study of the chemical mechanism (CM) to the SERS enhancement for halogen substituted benzenethiols interacting with a silver cluster. Changing the halogen on benzenethiol enables us to systematically modulate interactions between the benzenethiol ring and the metal cluster. We observe a decrease in the CM enhancement factor with an increase in the atomic number of the halogen for para-substitutions. For meta-substitutions, there is no such trend. However, the results scale linearly with the Hammett parameters for both meta and para halogens, which provides an important predictive tool for interpreting chemical enhancements. We also study the effect of solvation on the CM, showing that there is a systematic increase in enhancement with the increasing solvent dielectric constant. The correlation of CM with other properties, such as the amount of charge transfer between adsorbate and metal and the excitation energies of charge transfer states, is much less predictive than the Hammett parameter correlation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry