Characterization Techniques for Nanomaterials – An overview

C. Stephan, S. Reddy, J. Taylor

Keywords: direct sampling analysis (DSA), time of flight (TOF), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), infra red (IR), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS)


Nanomaterials characterization is complex and requires many analytical platforms in order to achieve the task at hand. This talk connects nanomaterials parameters that most commonly need to be measured with corresponding measurement techniques. It is a brief overview for nanotechnology scientists to rapidly identify the appropriate technique needed for measuring nanomaterials. Among the techniques that will be discussed; Single Particle ICP-MS is a new advancement in ICP-MS devoted to the analysis of individual metallic nanoparticles ranging from single digit nm up to a few µm. It is element specific, allows the differentiation between ionic (M+) and particulate signals (particles) in a wide variety of matrices without any prior separation. In one sample analysis, SP-ICP-MS provides ionic and particle concentration, particle composition, size and size distribution. Direct Sampling Analysis (DSA) Time of Flight (TOF) mass spectrometer is an ambient ionization technique coupled to an accurate mass spectrometer allowing the analysis of capping agent. The organic capped ligands are released from the nanoparticles due to thermo-lability of the covalent bonds. Using accurate mass and isotope profile information provided by the TOF, we were able to confirm the presence of the different types of ligands attached to nanoparticles. Besides just identifying and confirming one type of organic monolayer covalently bound to the nanoparticle, we were also able to identify bilayers wherein, one organic monolayer is covalently modified with a second type of organic ligand. Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) – Infra Red (IR) – Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) is a very powerful combination of analytical techniques all operated together in synergy towards the identification of various organics residing on the surface of Nanostructure.