Colloidal gold nanoparticles are a widespread nanomaterial with many potential applications, but their aggregation in suspension is a critical issue which is usually prevented by organic surfactants. This solution has some drawbacks, such as material contamination and modifications of its functional properties. The gold nanoparticles presented in this work have been synthesized by ultra-fast laser ablation in liquid, which addresses the above issues by overcoating the metal nanoparticles with an oxide layer. The main focus of the work is in the characterization of the oxidized gold nanoparticles, which were made first in solution by means of dynamic light scattering and optical spectroscopy, and then in dried form by transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and finally by surface potential measurements with atomic force microscopy. The light scattering assessed the nanoscale size of the formed particles and provided insight in their stability. The nanoparticles’ size was confirmed by direct imaging in transmission electron microscopy, and their crystalline nature was disclosed by X-ray diffraction. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed measurements compatible with the presence of surface oxide, which was confirmed by the surface potential measurements, which are the novel point of the present work. In conclusion, the method of laser ablation in liquid for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles has been presented, and the advantage of this physical approach, consisting of coating the nanoparticles in situ with gold oxide which provides the required morphological and chemical stability without organic surfactants, has been confirmed by using scanning Kelvin probe microscopy for the first time.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited