Challenges in nanoelectrochemical and nanomechanical studies of individual anisotropic gold nanoparticles
The characterization of nanoparticles and the correlation of physical properties such as size and shape to their (electro)chemical properties is an emerging field, which may facilitate future optimization and tuning of devices involving nanoparticles. This requires the investigation of individual particles rather than obtaining averaged information on large ensembles. Here, we present atomic force – scanning electrochemical microscopy (AFM-SECM) measurements of soft conductive PDMS substrates modified with gold nanostars (i.e., multibranched Au nanoparticles) in peak force tapping mode, which next to the electrochemical characterization provides information on the adhesion, deformation properties, and Young's modulus of the sample. AFM-SECM probes with integrated nanodisc electrodes (radii < 50 nm) have been used for these measurements. Most studies attempting to map individual nanoparticles have to date been performed at spherical nanoparticles, rather than highly active asymmetric gold nanoparticles. Consequently, this study discusses challenges during the nanocharacterization of individual anisotropic gold nanostars.