Comparison of techniques for determination of nanoparticle diameter

Peter Lamberg 1Marius Dagys 2Javier Sotres 1Thomas Arnebrant 1Tautgirdas Ruzgas 1

1. Malmö Univerity Health and Society, None, Malmö 20506, Sweden
2. Vilneus University, Institute of Biochemistry, Mokslininkų str. 12, Vilnius 08662, Lithuania

Nanoparticles are studied in different fields of sciences [1]. In our laboratory we exploit gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to promote direct electron transfer between planar electrodes and enzymes [2]. In all studies it is important to know the average size of nanoparticles (NPs). In this study we compared several techniques for NP size determination, specifically, Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Surface Plasmon Absorbance (SPA). Nine batches of AuNPs were prepared by well known citrate reduction method with average NP diameter ranging between 15 and 100 nm [3]. The results are summarized in the figure below.

Fig. Average diameters of nine AuNP batches measured with DLS, SPA, SEM and AFM.

The four different techniques yielded AuNP diameters with systematic differences. SEM showed the largest and SPA the smallest diameter for the same batch of AuNPs. The discrepancy in NP diameter could be because the mentioned techniques measure different aspects of the NPs. The main conclusion was that using several techniques to estimate NP size might provide a better understanding about their size and shape.


  1. Whyman, R., Gold nanoparticles a renaissance in gold chemistry, 1996. Gold Bulletin 29(1): p. 11-15.
  2. Dagys, M., et al., Laccase-gold nanoparticle assisted bioelectrocatalytic reduction of oxygen, 2010. Electrochemistry Communications 12(7): p. 933-935.
  3. Turkevich, J., P.C. Stevenson, and J. Hillier, A study of the nucleation and growth processes in the synthesis of colloidal gold, 1951. Discussions of the Faraday Society 11: p. 55-75.

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Presentation: Short communication at SMCBS'2011 International Workshop, by Peter Lamberg
See On-line Journal of SMCBS'2011 International Workshop

Submitted: 2011-08-24 11:01
Revised:   2011-08-24 11:04