Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy for quantitative analysis : results of a large-scale European multi-instrument interlaboratory study

Fornasaro, Stefano and Alsamad, Fatima and Baia, Monica and Batista de Carvalho, Luís A. E. and Beleites, Claudia and Byrne, Hugh J. and Chiadò, Alessandro and Chis, Mihaela and Chisanga, Malama and Daniel, Amuthachelvi and Dybas, Jakub and Eppe, Gauthier and Falgayrac, Guillaume and Faulds, Karen and Gebavi, Hrvoje and Giorgis, Fabrizio and Goodacre, Royston and Graham, Duncan and La Manna, Pietro and Laing, Stacey and Litti, Lucio and Lyng, Fiona M. and Malek, Kamilla and Malherbe, Cedric and Marques, Maria P. M. and Meneghetti, Moreno and Mitri, Elisa and Mohaček-Grošev, Vlasta and Morasso, Carlo and Muhamadali, Howbeer and Musto, Pellegrino and Novara, Chiara and Pannico, Marianna and Penel, Guillaume and Piot, Olivier and Rindzevicius, Tomas and Rusu, Elena A. and Schmidt, Michael S. and Sergo, Valter and Sockalingum, Ganesh D. and Untereiner, Valérie and Vanna, Renzo and Wiercigroch, Ewelina and Bonifacio, Alois (2020) Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy for quantitative analysis : results of a large-scale European multi-instrument interlaboratory study. Analytical Chemistry, 92 (5). pp. 4053-4064. ISSN 0003-2700 (

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Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a powerful and sensitive technique for the detection of fingerprint signals of molecules and for the investigation of a series of surface chemical reactions. Many studies introduced quantitative applications of SERS in various fields, and several SERS methods have been implemented for each specific application, ranging in performance characteristics, analytes used, instruments, and analytical matrices. In general, very few methods have been validated according to international guidelines. As a consequence, the application of SERS in highly regulated environments is still considered risky, and the perception of a poorly reproducible and insufficiently robust analytical technique has persistently retarded its routine implementation. Collaborative trials are a type of interlaboratory study (ILS) frequently performed to ascertain the quality of a single analytical method. The idea of an ILS of quantification with SERS arose within the framework of Working Group 1 (WG1) of the EU COST Action BM1401 Raman4Clinics in an effort to overcome the problematic perception of quantitative SERS methods. Here, we report the first interlaboratory SERS study ever conducted, involving 15 laboratories and 44 researchers. In this study, we tried to define a methodology to assess the reproducibility and trueness of a quantitative SERS method and to compare different methods. In our opinion, this is a first important step toward a "standardization" process of SERS protocols, not proposed by a single laboratory but by a larger community.