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Chrominance to Dimension: A Real-Time Method for Measuring the Size of Single Gold Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2012, 00:00 by Chao Jing, Zhen Gu, Yi-Lun Ying, Da-Wei Li, Lei Zhang, Yi-Tao Long
Noble metal nanoparticles have excellent optical and chemical properties and are widely used in optics, sensors, and biomedicines. The inherent characteristics of metal nanoparticles, particularly their size, play important roles in their applications. The ability to readily measure the size of single nanomaterials on-site is crucial to the rapid development of single-particle sensors. In this study, we developed a facile and real-time method for estimating the diameter of single gold nanoparticles (GNPs) that range from 35 to 110 nm in diameter; this technique uses the chrominance of the GNP’s plasmon resonance scattering light that is captured by a dark-field microscope (DFM). The RGB (three primary colors, red, green, and blue) chrominance information from the dark-field image can be directly converted into the diameters of the GNPs using the relationship between the particle size and the scattering light peak wavelength; this conversion was carried out using Matlab program based on an RGB-To-Wavelength (RTW) process. This approach is more convenient, less time-consuming, and enables observation under arbitrary conditions compared to the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) technique. The differences between the diameters of the GNPs that were calculated using this method and those that were measured using SEM were less than 5 nm. The RTW method has also been applied in the monitoring of the refractive index of the media surrounding the GNPs, and their dynamic acting within cells in real-time.