Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Brian D. Gilbert


Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) was used to probe the photolysis of p-nitrobenzoic acid (PNBA) on silver surfaces. PNBA does not photolyze in the visible spectrum unless it is adsorbed to a SERS active surface, such as Au or Ag. In theory, surface mediated photolysis is controlled by the same mechanisms that produce large Raman enhancement observed in SERS: a chemical enhancement and an electromagnetic enhancement. The effect of electromagnetic enhancement on the photolysis rate was investigated by controlling surface morphology. Photolysis rates were measured by monitoring the relative intensity ratio of vibrational bands of PNBA and the azodibenzoate (product). Variation in the photolysis rate was observed for different surfaces as a function of the surface roughness. The photolysis rate was also monitored as a function of the depth in a PNBA crystal and found to have a linear dependence.