Removing Raman's blinkers

An international research team has circumvented the "signal-blinking" problem seen when probing a single molecule using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SM-SERS). Jiannian Yao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences working with researchers in Sweden, has combined theory and experiment to demonstrate how cooling a molecule can eradicate the blinking that otherwise distorts the Raman picture. "It sounds straightforward," says Yao, "but this needs special consideration of the experimental set up." The team demonstrated proof of principle using the non-bonding molecule, perylene, which was physically adsorbed on colloidal silver nanoparticles.