Transmission Electron Microscopy characterization of gold nanoparticles

Kamil Sobczak ,  Piotr Dłużewski 

Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Physics, al. Lotników 32/46, Warszawa 02-668, Poland


The interest in noble metals particles like gold nanoparticles is caused by wide possibilities of applications in areas such as nanomedicine, nanophotonics or the protection of the natural environment. Nanoparticles of noble metals show the phenomenon of Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR). This phenomenon is related to the oscillation of free electrons in the metal and therefore depends on  nanoparticles size [1]. The LSPR has been used for the ablation of cancer cells - Plasmonic Photothermal Therapy (PPTT) [2]. The electromagnetic radiation of frequency corresponding to the resonance, excited localized plasmons which leads to a local overheating and damage cancer cells. This technique is minimally invasive method for healthy cells, but very effective in the destruction of cancer cells.

The most spectacular application of gold particles is to use them to generate the bioluminescence of plants, so far from the family Bacopa caroliniana [3]. Leaves of plants in which gold particles (~ 10 nm) were placed can light in the dark. The bioluminescence, induced by the presence of gold particles, can be further used for the production of energy efficient lighting such as tree in city streets.

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) gives valuable information for nanotechnology. The paper presents results of investigations of gold colloids containing particles of different sizes (2 nm - 50 nm). The knowledge of the size and shape of gold nanoparticles is very important because have a significant influence on the optical properties. In the paper we determined the crystal structure and analyzed the size of nanoparticles. TEM methods and especially one of them: Energy Electon Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) allows to collect spectra from individual particle, which can not be done by optical methods.


This research was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund within the Innovative Economy Operational Programme 2007-2013 “Analytical high resolution transmission electron microscope for nanoscience, nanotechnology and spintronics” No POIG.02.01-00-14-032/08.


[1]  J.A. Scholl, Ai L. Koh , J.A. Dionne Quantum plasmon resonances of individual metallic nanoparticles. Nature 483, 421–427  2012

[2] X. Huang, P.K. Jain, I.H. El-Sayed, M.A. El-Sayed.  Plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) using gold nanoparticles Lasers Med Sci 23, 217–228  2008

[3] Y.H. Su ,  S-L. Tu , S-W. Tseng , Y-Ch. Chang , S-H. Chang,  W-M. Zhang Influence of surface plasmon resonance on the emission intermittency of photoluminescence from gold nano-sea-urchins. Nanoscale 2, 2639-2646 2010

Auxiliary resources (full texts, presentations, posters, etc.)
  1. POSTER: Transmission Electron Microscopy characterization of gold nanoparticles, PDF document, version 1.3, 1.8MB

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Presentation: Poster at Nano-Biotechnologia PL, by Kamil Sobczak
See On-line Journal of Nano-Biotechnologia PL

Submitted: 2012-06-20 12:34
Revised:   2012-06-20 12:34
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