Planar gold substrates were prepared by the template-stripping method reported in the literature, which provided atomically smooth gold layers (28). Briefly, 100-nm-thick Au was evaporated onto a silicon wafer at a growth rate of 0.1 nm/s using an e-beam evaporator. After this, small pieces (ca. 1 cm2) of the bare Si wafer were glued on with epoxy and peeled off together with the Au film. Last, colloidal solutions of the PANI-coated Au NPs were drop-casted on the top of these Au substrates. Before use, this sample was immersed in deionized water overnight to eliminate excess surfactants, followed by treating with HCl (0.2 M) for 2 hours to protonate the PANI layer (17).

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