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J Microsc. 2008 Feb;229(Pt 2):337-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2008.01910.x.

A novel approach to detect and characterize the scattering patterns of single Au nanoparticles using confocal microscopy.

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Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Nanooptics, Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, Tübingen, Germany.


We demonstrate a novel optical method for characterizing single Au nanoparticles by acquiring their scattering patterns. This technique combines confocal microscopy and higher-order laser modes for detecting the light scattered by sub-wavelength-sized nanoobjects. The optical patterns are generated by the coherent superposition of the field scattered by individual metallic particles and the excitation field reflected at the cover slide-air interface and provide information about the particles' position, orientation, size and shape. Detectable changes in the full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the signal intensity permit to distinguish between 20- and 60-nm diameter Au spheres. The confocal images are also very sensitive to the particle's geometry and polarizability, that is, Au nanospheres, Au nanorods and triangular Au nanoplates give different characteristic patterns if the excitation wavelength is varied.

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