Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Chaoyang Jiang

Second Advisor

Miles Koppang

Third Advisor

David Hawkinson


Raman, SERS, gold nanostars, anti-counterfeiting

Subject Categories

Materials Chemistry | Other Chemistry


Increases in the selling of illicit goods warrant a subsequent need for even more sophisticated methods to prevent counterfeit products from being sold. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has the potential to be a powerful tool to thwart counterfeiters because the unique security tags fabricated with this method are difficult to reproduce without knowing the “secret” recipes used in their preparation. In this work, gold nanostars are used as SERS active substrates since their branched structure allows for strong coupling between the light and plasmonic nanoparticles. As a result, Raman signals of trace amount of chemicals can be easily detected. The gold nanostars were used with different combinations of probe molecules so that unique anti-counterfeiting tags can be created. The reproducibility and uniformity of the SERS spectra for these tags were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA). These SERS tags have a great potential for a variety of anti-counterfeiting applications.



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