Direct Chemical Imaging of Ligand-Functionalized Single Nanoparticles by Photoinduced Force Microscopy

Jahng, J., Son, JG., Kim, H., Park, J., Lee, TG., Lee, ES.
J Phys Chem Lett


Chemical characterizations of biochemically functionalized single nanoparticles are necessary to optimize the nanoparticle surface functionality in recently advanced nanobiological applications but have not yet been fully explored because of technical difficulties. Exploiting the photoinduced force exerted on a light-illuminated nanoscale tip, nanoscale mid-infrared hyperspectral images with a 10 nm spatial resolution of a monolayer ligand-functionalized single gold nanoparticle under ambient and environmental conditions are presented. We extend our study to the diagnosis of nanoscale heterogeneous chemical contaminants which come from a particle functionalization process but are undetectable in conventional ensemble-averaged imaging technique. High sensitivity and high spatial resolution are achieved via the strongly localized tip-enhanced force at the junction between the gold-coated tip and the functionalized nanoparticle in photoinduced force microscopy, which far exceeds the capability of the conventional methods. The present study paves a new way to directly detect heterogeneous nanochemicals at the single-component level, which is necessary to evaluate nanomaterial safety in biomedical applications.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c01536