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This is an SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) image of gold nanoparticles and specifically some gold nano-plates I created on accident while synthesizing spherical gold nanoparticles in the lab. 

Gold Nano Stop Signs Low Magnification

As you can see in the first image (at ~7000x magnification) there are spherical gold nanoparticles present in the sample, but there are also these very interesting hexagon shaped nano-plates as well, which due to their shape I started calling Nano Stop Signs.  In the second image (at ~24,000x magnification) you can see a close up of one of these Nano Stop Signs. 

Gold Nano Stop Sign High Magnification

I also included a scale  bar in this image to give you an idea of how incredible thin these Nano-plates are in reality.  The one in the middle of the image is only about 50nm thick which makes it about 1000 times thinner than the width of an average human hair. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the right conditions to reproduce these Nano Stop Signs in large quantities, but I still love this image because of its detail and the interesting structures that were created completely on accident. 


My name is Don Owens and I am a Chemical Engineer, US Expat, FIRE Enthusiast, Author, and Frequent Traveler. I blog about life as an Expat in KSA, my journal toward financial independence, travel, and science.

4 Replies to “Gold Nano Stop Signs”

    1. Thanks for the comment Ameer. Were you able to isolate the gold pentagons? I always thought it would have been interesting to try to make the hexagons on purpose and isolate them to see what sort of properties they would have, but never got around to it. I imagine they would have a very interesting absorption spectrum and probably so interesting plasmonic behavior as well.

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