Application of Cotton Swab–Ag Composite as Flexible Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Substrate for DMMP Detection

Wen Chien Huang*, Hong Ru Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

2 Scopus citations


It is both important and required to quickly and accurately detect chemical warfare agents, such as the highly toxic nerve agent sarin. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has received considerable attention due to its rapid results, high sensitivity, non-destructive data acquisition, and unique spectroscopic fingerprint. In this work, we successfully prepared SERS cotton swabs (CSs) for the detection of the sarin simulant agent dimethyl methyl phosphonate (DMMP) by anchoring N1-(3-trimethoxysilylpropyl) diethylenetriamine (ATS)/silver nanoparticle (AgNP) nanocomposites on CSs using ATS as the stabilizer and coupling agent. Simultaneously, the binding mode and reaction mechanics between the AgNP, ATS, and CS were confirmed by XPS. The modified CSs exhibited good uniformity, stability, and adsorption capability for SERS measurements, enabling the adsorption and detection of DMMP residue from an irregular surface via a simple swabbing process, with a detection limit of 1 g/L. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) of RSD710 = 5.6% had high reproducibility. In this research, the fabrication method could easily be extended to other cellulose compounds, such as natural fibers and paper. Furthermore, the versatile SERS CSs can be used for the on-site detection of DMMP, particularly in civil and defense applications, to guarantee food security and the health of the population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number520
Issue number2
StatePublished - 05 01 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • SERS cotton swab
  • chemical warfare agent simulant (DMMP)
  • silver nanoparticles
  • versatile SERS substrate


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