Nature Nanotechnology

Nanoparticle printing with single-particle resolution

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Bulk syntheses of colloids efficiently produce nanoparticles with unique and useful properties. Their integration onto surfaces is a prerequisite for exploiting these properties in practice. Ideally, the integration would be compatible with a variety of surfaces and particles, while also enabling the fabrication of large areas and arbitrarily high-accuracy patterns. Whereas printing routinely meets these demands at larger length scales, we have developed a novel printing process that enables positioning of sub-100-nm particles individually with high placement accuracy. A colloidal suspension is inked directly onto printing plates, whose wetting properties and geometry ensure that the nanoparticles only fill predefined topographical features. The dry particle assembly is subsequently printed from the plate onto plain substrates through tailored adhesion. We demonstrate that the process can create a variety of particle arrangements including lines, arrays and bitmaps, while preserving the catalytic and optical activity of the individual nanoparticles. © 2007 Nature Publishing Group.