Calculation of Properties of Metal Nanoparticles using Absorbance Data from SpectroWorks™

This Jupyter-notebook performs calculations on UV-Vis date from metal nanoparticles from SpectroWorks™ data.

Challenge: We want to analyse a spectrum containing metal nanoparticles and obtain information on their size and other useful properties.
Solution: The following Jupyter notebook identifies the absorption values and calculates useful ratios and uses equations from literature to calculate an estimate for the diameter of the particles, with fully customisable parameters.

UV-Vis spectrophotometry is a technique used to analyse the absorption of light by a sample at specific wavelengths in the ultraviolet and visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

We can use UV-Vis data to learn about the properties of metal nanoparticles. Useful quantities include absorption (A) ratios at certain wavelengths (λ). It can also be insightful to find the location of peaks and from this, we can calculate estimates of the diameter of the nanoparticles.

The optical and electronic properties of nanoparticles vary with their physical characteristics, like shape and size. Metal nanoparticles have a multitude of uses. In particular, gold nanoparticles have been used in biological and medical applications as drug delivery agents, in electronic conductors, in catalysis, sensors and probes.

The diameter of gold nanoparticles is related to their peak surface plasmon resonance (SPR) wavelength. The SPR of a metal particle is the wavelength of light that results in the free electrons on the surface of the metal to oscillate in resonance with the visible light. Generally, the larger the particle size, the larger the SPR.

The peak surface plasmon value can be extracted using UV-VIS Spectrophotometry. Together with experimental parameters, the average diameter of the nanoparticles particles can be estimated. The following equations have been used in literature [1] to calculate the diameter of gold nanoparticles.

Equation 1

Equation 1: λspr is the peak SPR wavelength and λ0, L1, L2 are experimentally determined parameters.

Equation 2

Equation 2: Aspr is the absorbance at the peak SPR, A450 is the absorbance at λ = 450nm and B1, B2 are experimentally determined parameters.

This easy to use interactive Jupyter notebook can analyse hundreds of files of absorbance data in seconds. Currently, we have implemented the following calculations within the notebook: 

  • Aspr and  λspr, the absorbance and wavelength at the peak SPR
  • Calculation of any ratios of absorption
  • The diameter as given in equation 1 and 2 with adjustable parameters
  • Pass/fail tests to confirm whether the data are agreeing with the models defining equation 1 and 2
  • The relative width of the peak at 90% of the Aspr value
  • The ability to plot an adjustable wavelength range and normalise at a given absorbance and the plot of any three overlaying spectra as in figure 1.
  • ... and more!
Figure 1: A spectrum for a sample of three gold nanoparticles as calculated using a basic cuvette and the SpectroWorks™ software.
[1] Haiss W, Thanh NT, Aveyard J, Fernig DG. Determination of size and concentration of gold nanoparticles from UV-vis spectra. Anal Chem. 2007 Jun 1;79(11):4215-21. doi: 10.1021/ac0702084. Epub 2007 Apr 26. PMID: 17458937.
SpectroWorks™ for UV-Vis spectra and NanoCuvette™ analysis comes with API access. Whether you're a student, a scientist or a technician, Colab notebooks and SpectroWorks™ can make your work around UV-Vis spectrophotometers easier and faster. 

Contact us for more information 

Copenhagen Nanosystems ApS (cphnano),
Hørmarken 2, DK-3520 Farum, Denmark
Tel: +45 36 99 27 46