Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 7, pp 2279–2288 | Cite as

Real-time size discrimination and elemental analysis of gold nanoparticles using ES-DMA coupled to ICP-MS

  • Sherrie Elzey
  • De-Hao Tsai
  • Lee L. Yu
  • Michael R. Winchester
  • Michael E. Kelley
  • Vincent A. Hackley
Paper in Forefront


We report the development of a hyphenated instrument with the capacity to quantitatively characterize aqueous suspended gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) based on a combination of gas-phase size separation, particle counting, and elemental analysis. A customized electrospray-differential mobility analyzer (ES-DMA) was used to achieve real-time upstream size discrimination. A condensation particle counter and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) were employed as downstream detectors, providing information on number density and elemental composition, respectively, of aerosolized AuNPs versus the upstream size selected by ES-DMA. A gas-exchange device was designed and optimized to improve the conversion of air flow (from the electrospray) to argon flow required to sustain the ICP-MS plasma, the key compatibility issue for instrumental hyphenation. Our work provides the proof of concept and a working prototype for utilizing this construct to successfully measure (1) number- and mass-based distributions; (2) elemental compositions of nanoparticles classified by size, where the size classification and elemental analysis are performed within a single experiment; (3) particle concentrations in both solution (before size discrimination) and aerosol (after size discrimination) phases; and (4) the number of atoms per nanoparticle or the nanoparticle density.


DMA Electrospray Gold Nanoparticle ICP-MS Quantitative analysis 

Supplementary material

216_2012_6617_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (569 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 569 kb)


  1. 1.
    Henig RM (2007) Our silver-coated future. OnEarth. Fall 2007Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jin R (2012) Nanotechnology Review 1:31–56Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fakruddin M, Hossain Z, Afroz H (2012) Journal of Nanobiotechnology 10:31Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Conde J, Rosa J, Lima JC, Baptista PV (2012) Int J Photoenergy. doi:10.1155/2012/619530
  5. 5.
    Tiwari PM, Vig K, Dennis VA, Singh SR (2011) Nanomaterials 1:31–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Riggio C, Pagni E, Raffa V, Cuschieri A (2011) J Nanomaterials. doi:10.1155/2011/164506
  7. 7.
    Duncan TV (2011) J Colloid Interf Sci 363:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Somasundaran P, Mehta SC, Rhein L, Chakraborty S (2007) MRS Bull 32:779–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sharrna P, Brown S, Walter G, Santra S, Moudgil B (2006) Adv Colloid Interfac 123:471–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zhang S, Sun D, Fu YQ, Du HJ (2003) Surf Coat Tech 167:113–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tsai DH, Elzey S, DelRio FW, Keene AM, Tyner KM, Clogston JD, MacCuspie RI, Guha S, Zachariah MR, Hackley VA (2012) Nanoscale 4:3208–3217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aravind A, Veeranarayanan S, Poulose A, Nair R, Nagaoka Y, Yoshida Y, Maekawa T, Kumar D (2012) BioNanoScience 2:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    McNeil SE (2011) Characterization of nanoparticles intended for drug delivery. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dobrovolskaia MA, Mcneil SE (2007) Nat Nanotechnol 2:469–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jokerst JV, Lobovkina T, Zare RN, Gambhir SS (2011) Nanomedicine-Uk 6:715–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tsai DH, DelRio FW, Keene AM, Tyner KM, MacCuspie RI, Cho TJ, Zachariah MR, Hackley VA (2011) Langmuir 27:2464–2477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Paciotti GF, Kingston DGI, Tamarkin L (2006) Drug Develop Res 67:47–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Paciotti GF, Myer L, Weinreich D, Goia D, Pavel N, McLaughlin RE, Tamarkin L (2004) Drug Deliv 11:169–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Baptista P, Pereira E, Eaton P, Doria G, Miranda A, Gomes I, Quaresma P, Franco R (2008) Anal Bioanal Chem 391:943–950CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bolea E, Jiménez-Lamana J, Laborda F, Castillo J (2011) Anal Bioanal Chem 401:2723–2732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gautier E, Roberti M, Gettar R, Jiménez Rebagliati R, Batistoni D (2007) Anal Bioanal Chem 388:499–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Helfrich A, Bettmer J (2011) Int J Mass Spectrom 307:92–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Elzey S, Tsai D-H, Rabb S, Yu L, Winchester M, Hackley V (2012) Anal Bioanal Chem 403:145–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tsai DH, Huang TJ (2002) Appl Catal Gen 223:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tsai DH, Zangmeister RA, Pease Iii LF, Tarlov MJ, Zachariah MR (2008) Langmuir 24:8483–8490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cho TJ, Zangmeister RA, MacCuspie RI, Patri AK, Hackley VA (2011) Chem Mater 23:2665–2676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Scheffer A, Engelhard C, Sperling M, Buscher W (2008) Anal Bioanal Chem 390:249–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sanchez SI, Small MW, Zuo J-m, Nuzzo RG (2009) J Am Chem Soc 131:8683–8689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tsai D-H, Davila-Morris M, DelRio FW, Guha S, Zachariah MR, Hackley VA (2011) Langmuir 27:9302–9313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tsai DH, Cho TJ, DelRio FW, Taurozzi J, Zachariah MR, Hackley VA (2011) J Am Chem Soc 133:8884–8887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pease LF, Tsai DH, Brorson KA, Guha S, Zachariah MR, Tarlov MJ (2012) Anal Chem 83(5):1753–1759Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Tsai D-H, DelRio FW, MacCuspie RI, Cho TJ, Zachariah MR, Hackley VA (2010) Langmuir 26:10325–10333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kapellios EA, Pergantis SA (2012) J Anal Atom Spectrom 27:21–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Myojo T, Takaya M, Ono-Ogasawara M (2002) Aerosol Sci Tech 36:76–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Pease LF (2012) Trends Biotechnol 30:216–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Guha S, Li M, Tarlov MJ, Zachariah MR (2012) Trends Biotechnol 30:291–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Tsai DH, Pease LF 3rd, Zangmeister RA, Tarlov MJ, Zachariah MR (2009) Langmuir 25:140–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Pease LF 3rd, Sorci M, Guha S, Tsai DH, Zachariah MR, Tarlov MJ, Belfort G (2010) Biophys J 99:3979–3985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Carazzone C, Raml R, Pergantis SA (2008) Anal Chem 80:5812–5818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hogan CJ, Kettleson EM, Ramaswami B, Chen DR, Biswas P (2006) Anal Chem 78:844–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Li MD, Guha S, Zangmeister R, Tarlov MJ, Zachariah MR (2011) Aerosol Sci Tech 45:849–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Li M, Guha S, Zangmeister R, Tarlov MJ, Zachariah MR (2011) Langmuir 27:14732–14739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Gschwind S, Flamigni L, Koch J, Borovinskaya O, Groh S, Niemax K, Gunther D (2011) J Anal Atom Spectrom 26:1166–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Kovacs R, Nishiguchi K, Utani K, Gunther D (2010) J Anal Atom Spectrom 25:142–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Nishiguchi K, Utani K, Fujimori E (2008) J Anal Atom Spectrom 23:1125–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Suzuki Y, Sato H, Hikida S, Nishiguchi K, Furuta N (2010) J Anal Atom Spectrom 25:947–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Dobrovolskaia MA, Patri AK, Zheng J, Clogston JD, Ayub N, Aggarwal P, Neun BW, Hall JB, McNeil SE (2009) Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine 5:106–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Kim SH, Mulholland GW, Zachariah MR (2007) J Aerosol Sci 38:823–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Hinds WC (1999) Aerosol technology: properties, behavior, and measurement of airborne particles, 2nd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Mulholland GW, Donnelly MK, Hagwood CR, Kukuck SR, Hackley VA, Pui DYH (2006) J Res Natl Inst Stan 111:257–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    National Institute of Standards and Technology Report of Investigation RM8011–RM8013 2008Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Bell NC, Minelli C, Tompkins J, Stevens MM, Shard AG (2012) Langmuir 28:10860–10872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Alvarez PJJ, Colvin V, Lead J, Stone V (2009) ACS Nano 3:1616–1619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Hassellöv M, Lyvén B, Haraldsson C, Sirinawin W (1999) Anal Chem 71:3497–3502CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherrie Elzey
    • 1
  • De-Hao Tsai
    • 1
  • Lee L. Yu
    • 2
  • Michael R. Winchester
    • 2
  • Michael E. Kelley
    • 2
  • Vincent A. Hackley
    • 1
  1. 1.Materials Measurement Science DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  2. 2.Chemical Sciences DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

Personalised recommendations