Detecting Organic Dyestuffs in Art with SERS

Left: Van Gogh’s “Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle” (1889, AIC 1926.200) in which the flowers were originally colored bright pink with the dye eosin Y.
Right: SERS with PDMS-Ag colloid films. A) SERS spectra of 10-4 M standard solution of 1) Eosin Y, 2) Alizarin, 3) Carminic acid on glass coverslips. λex = 532 nm, Pex = 80 µW, t = 10 s. B) Schematic of experimental setup. The Ag colloid- functionalized PDMS film is pressed onto the sample, the laser excitation (green arrow) is focused on the sample-film junction and the scattered light (red arrow) is collected. C) SEM image of PDMS-Ag colloid film.

Cultural heritage research involves the identification of artist’s materials for conservation approaches, detection of forgeries, and to understand an artist’s methodology and palette. In recent years, SERS has established itself as a routine technique to identify organic red and yellow colorants in artworks which are traditionally difficult to analyze with normal Raman spectroscopy. Applications of SERS to cultural heritage analysis, however, requires removal of sample and have primarily focused on identification of a single dye in a single sample. There is a need for effective techniques to study the degradation of dyes, perform plan-view and cross sectional molecular mapping, and identify dyes without the removal or destruction of sample. To this end, we are currently exploring photodegradation mechanisms via SERS and developing non-invasive SERS-based techniques for cultural heritage applications.

Francesca Casadio, adjunct professor, Art Institute of Chicago
Michael Mattei, 4th year graduate student
Hannah Mayhew, 3rd year graduate student


Recent Publications:

“Near-Infrared Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (NIR-SERS) for the Identification of Eosin Y: Theoretical Calculations and Evaluation of Two Different Nanoplasmonic Substrates,” N. G. Greeneltch, A. Davis, N. A. Valley, F. Casadio, G. C. Schatz, R. P. Van Duyne, and N. C. Shah, J. Phys. Chem. A, 116, 11863–11869 (2012)

“Silver colloidal pastes for dye analysis of reference and historical textile fibers using direct, extractionless, non-hydrolysis surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy,” Ambra Idone, Monica Gulmini, Anne-Isabelle Henry, Francesca Casadio, Lauren Chang, Lorenzo Appolonia, Richard P. Van Duyne, and Nilam C. Shah, Analyst, DOI: 10.1039/C3AN00788J.

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  • Professor Richard Van Duyne

    Additional Information

    Discoverer of Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (1977)
    Inventor of Nanosphere Lithography (1995) & Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Spectroscopy (2000)

  • Group Members

    Professor Van Duyne has, in his career to date, advised a total of 87 graduate students and 47 postdoctoral fellows. Every year, Professor Van Duyne gives a talk to introduce new graduate students to our research. The 2017 seminar slides are available here.

  • News

    Professor Van Duyne was recently named a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow by the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct "high risk, high payoff" basic scientific research. Read more here