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Pipet Based Scanning Probe Microscopy Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy: A Novel Approach for TERS in Liquids

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - AQUARAMAN (Pipet Based Scanning Probe Microscopy Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy: A Novel Approach for TERS in Liquids)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

For more than 20 years, a powerful spectroscopic technique employed to study surfaces and interfacial phenomena at the nanoscale is unable to operate reliably in liquid environments. This limitation hinders the broad applicability of this nanospectroscopy technique, especially in key fields of science and technology where the presence of liquid is unavoidable, such as electrochemistry and biology.
Adapting this technique to operate in liquids is our main objective, allowing us to subsequently study surfaces and interfacial phenomena in their truly environment, a crucial step for improving catalysts, developing new and more efficient batteries and gain a better understanding of the complexity of biological behaviour at single cell level.
We are constructing an unprecedented and unique nanospectroscopy platform that requires the seamlessly coupling of different instruments, combining lasers, optics and nanometric positioning, as well as the fabrication of plasmonic probes. The use of sharp glass pipettes decorated with gold nanoparticles is our strategy to precisely manipulate and place such nanostructures with plasmonic properties on the surface of interest, allowing an amplified signal to be detected.
Soon we will be able to challenge our platform in real systems, such new materials like graphene or live cells, studying and observing phenomena never seen before with a technique capable to provide simultaneously topographic images as well as chemical/structural spectroscopic information, all with nanometric resolution and in liquids.