Herein we addressed a study to determine the enhancement factor (EF) of the Raman signal reached by composite films with two main components, Ag nanoparticles and SiO2 spheres. The study involves the synthesis, structural composition and optical response by using experimental techniques and theoretical-numerical modeling. A colloid with single NPs and agglomerates of them, with a tannic acid layer on its surface, was produced. Separately, porous SiO2 spheres were obtained. A mixture of both, Ag NPs and SiO2 particles was used to produce the films by solvent evaporation method. It is shown that single or agglomerated Ag NPs are preferentially located at the interstices of the SiO2 spheres. Using discrete dipole approximation, the SERS EF has been estimated considering the agglomeration and tannic acid layer. Both, the dielectric spheres and tannic acid layer diminish the electric field intensity and therefore the SERS EF. When a Ag NP with/without a dielectric shell is touching a SiO2 sphere, the EF is as high as 1 × 103, the zones where this value is reached are smaller when the dielectric layer is present. With a cluster of 3 nude Ag NPs surrounded by SiO2 spheres an EF of 2.4 × 103 is obtained.
Part of the book: Silver Micro-Nanoparticles