Advances in nanoscience are critically dependent on the ability to control and probe chemical and physical phenomena in confined geometries. A key challenge is to identify confinement structures with high surface area to volume ratios and controlled surface boundaries that can be probed quantitatively at the molecular level. Herein we report an approach for probing molecular structures within nano- to microscale pores by the application of spontaneous Raman spectroscopy. We demonstrate the method by characterization of the structural features of picomole quantities of well-organized octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) monolayers self-assembled on the interior pore surfaces of high aspect ratio (1 μm diameter × 1-10 cm length), near-atomically smooth silica microstructured optical fibers (MOFs). The simple Raman backscattering collection geometry employed is well suited for a wide variety of diagnostic applications as demonstrated by tracking the combustion of the hydrocarbon chains of the OTS self-assembled monolayer (SAM) and spectral confirmation of the formation of an adsorbed monolayer of human serum albumin (HSA) protein. Using this MOF Raman approach, molecular processes in precisely defined, highly confined geometries can be probed at high pressures and temperatures, with a wide range of excitation wavelengths from the visible to the near-IR, and under other external perturbations such as electric and magnetic fields.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces