Nanoscale Characterization of Gold Colloid Monolayers: A Comparison of Four Techniques

Katherine C. Grabar, Kenneth R. Brown, Christine Dolan Keating, Stephan J. Stranick, Sau Lan Tang, Michael J. Natan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


Atomic force microscopy (AFM), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) have been used to characterize the nanostructure of Au colloid-based surfaces. Because these substrates are composed of particles whose dimensions are known prior to assembly, they are well-suited for a critical comparison of the capabilities and limitations of each nanoscale imaging technique. The three criteria for this comparison, which are relevant to the field of nanoparticle assemblies in general, are (i) accuracy in establishing particle size, particle coverage, and interparticle spacing; (ii) accuracy in delineating surface topography; and (iii) ease of sample preparation, data acquisition, and image analysis. For colloidal Au arrays, TEM gives the most reliable size and spacing information but exhibits the greatest constraints with regard to sample preparation; in contrast, AFM is widely applicable but yields data that are the least straightforward to interpret For accurate information regarding nanometer-scale architecture of particle-based surfaces, a combination of at least one scanning probe method (AFM, NSOM) and one accelerated-electron method (TEM, FE-SEM) is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Nanoscale Characterization of Gold Colloid Monolayers: A Comparison of Four Techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this