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Smart Supramolecular Sensing with Cucurbit[n]urils: Probing Hydrogen Bonding with SERS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Bart De Nijs, Marlous Kamp, Istvan Szabo, Steven J. Barrow, Felix Benz, Guanglu Wu, Cloudy Carnegie, Rohit Chikkaraddy, Wenting Wang, William Michael Deacon, Edina Rosta, Jeremy J. Baumberg, Oren A. Scherman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-515
JournalFaraday Discussions
Early online date14 Jul 2017
Accepted/In press29 Jun 2017
E-pub ahead of print14 Jul 2017


King's Authors


Rigid gap nano-aggregates of Au nanoparticles formed using cucurbit[n]uril (CB[n])
molecules are used to investigate the competitive binding of ethanol and methanol in an aqueous environment. We show it is possible to detect as little as 0.1% methanol in water and a ten times higher affinity to methanol over ethanol, making this a useful technology for quality control in alcohol production. We demonstrate strong interaction effects in the SERS peaks, which we demonstrate are likely from the hydrogen bonding of water complexes in the vicinity of the CB[n]s.

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