Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 939–949 | Cite as

Optimal sample preparation for nanoparticle metrology (statistical size measurements) using atomic force microscopy

  • Christopher M. Hoo
  • Trang Doan
  • Natasha Starostin
  • Paul E. West
  • Martha L. MecartneyEmail author
Research Paper


Optimal deposition procedures are determined for nanoparticle size characterization by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Accurate nanoparticle size distribution analysis with AFM requires non-agglomerated nanoparticles on a flat substrate. The deposition of polystyrene (100 nm), silica (300 and 100 nm), gold (100 nm), and CdSe quantum dot (2–5 nm) nanoparticles by spin coating was optimized for size distribution measurements by AFM. Factors influencing deposition include spin speed, concentration, solvent, and pH. A comparison using spin coating, static evaporation, and a new fluid cell deposition method for depositing nanoparticles is also made. The fluid cell allows for a more uniform and higher density deposition of nanoparticles on a substrate at laminar flow rates, making nanoparticle size analysis via AFM more efficient and also offers the potential for nanoparticle analysis in liquid environments.


Atomic force microscope Instrumentation Nanoparticles Nanoscale metrology Size characterization 



This work was supported by the U.S. Navy under contract # N00244-06-P-2341 and N00244-05-P-2456. Additional support from Pacific Nanotechnology Inc. is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher M. Hoo
    • 1
  • Trang Doan
    • 1
  • Natasha Starostin
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paul E. West
    • 2
  • Martha L. Mecartney
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Technology CenterPacific Nanotechnology, Inc.Fountain ValleyUSA
  3. 3.Rosemount Analytical Inc., Emerson Process ManagementIrvineUSA

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