New publication: Plasmonic MOF Thin Films with Raman Internal Standard for Fast and Ultrasensitive SERS Detection of Chemical Warfare Agents in Ambient Air

SERSing researchers have developed a sensing platform based on SERS (Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering) to detect, identify, and monitor neurotoxic gases in the air. This article describes the newly developed platform and lays the groundwork for its implementation.

“This article is the result of a fruitful collaboration with our partner UVigo. This work has allowed us to share and join our knowledge in plasmonic nanoparticles, sorbents and SERS detection.” says author Marta Lafuente. “For us, it has been a pleasure to collaborate with Isabel Pastoriza’s group and it was amazing to observe the capacity of detection and concentration of toxic gases of these nanostructures.”


Neurotoxic agents are the most toxic chemical weapons, and relatively easy to synthesize. Proper hazard assessment and intervention needs rapid, reliable, ultrasensitive, and fieldable detection of neurotoxic agents in the air. The sensing platform consists of core-shell gold-silver nanorods individually encapsulated within a ZIF-8 framework. The metallic nanoparticles amplify the Raman signal of nearby molecules, and ZIF-8 plays a key role in trapping and concentration of these neurotoxic agents.

The platform’s SERS sensing capabilities in terms of response time and limit of detection match the technical requirements for the early detection of neurotoxic agents in air according to the Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs) reference values. Therefore, this proof-of-concept paves the way for further developments on SERS based gas sensing in real applications, such as security and defense, healthcare and environmental monitoring, and the agro-food industry.