We report on an optimized fabrication protocol for obtaining silver nanoparticles on fused silica substrates via laser photoreduction of a silver salt solution. We find that multiple scans of the laser over the surface leads to a more uniform coverage of densely packed silver nanoparticles of approximately 50 nm diameter on the fused silica surface. Our substrates yield Raman enhancement factors of the order of 1011 of the signal detected from crystal violet. We use a theoretical model based on scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of our substrates to explain our experimental results. We also demonstrate how our technique can be extended to embedding silver nanoparticles in buried microfluidic channels in glass. The in situ laser inscription of silver nanoparticles on a laser machined, sub-surface, microfluidic channel wall within bulk glass paves the way for developing 3D, monolithic, fused silica surface enhance Raman spectroscopy (SERS) microfluidic sensing devices.
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