The effects of experimental parameters on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for silver-coated microsphere substrates were investigated. The parameters included sphere size, silver thickness, and excitation wavelength. The SERS signal intensity varied as each of these parameters was changed. The potential for increasing SERS sensitivity was illustrated by the detection of benzo(a)pyrene, a molecule of environmental and toxicological interest, at a concentration well below that possible for normal Raman scattering. This work describes some optimization procedures and demonstrates the possibility for further improving SERS enhancement of these silver-coated microsphere substrates by optimizing experimental parameters.

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