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Atomic Force Microscopy Nanomanipulation of Shape Persistent, Spherical, Self-Assembled Aggregates of Gold Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 23.11.2010, 00:00 by Jeroen van Herrikhuyzen, Ron Willems, Subi J. George, Cees Flipse, Jeroen C. Gielen, Peter C. M. Christianen, Albertus P. H. J. Schenning, Stefan C. J. Meskers
Gold (Au) nanoparticles have been synthesized that are stabilized by an organic ligand bearing a dithiolane functional group for binding to Au, an oligo(p-phenylene vinylene) (OPV) chromophoric group to drive self-assembly via π−π interactions, and a hydroxy functionality for interparticle hydrogen bonding. The OPV−Au particles reversibly self-assemble in n-heptane solution, forming shape persistent, spherical, nanometer-sized aggregates that do not collapse on a substrate. Optical absorption and transmission electron microscopy tomography studies show that the size and shape persistency can be tuned by modification of the ligands, adjustment of the core size, and variation of the concentration. The spherical assemblies can be manipulated with the tip of an atomic force microscope: an aggregate can be pushed over the surface for at least 20 times with nanometer precision and without substantial loss of material.