New substrates make it possible to detect one molecule in a million

SERS, an extremely sensitive laboratory method of analysing chemical composition, is set to become widespread decades after its invention. The main obstacle preventing widespread deployment of this promising research technique has been the poor quality of the substrate on which samples are applied. Now, new substrates that guarantee repeatability of measurements and appropriate signal enhancement are available, thanks to scientists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.