Label Free Particle-by-Particle Quantification of DNA Loading on Sorted Gold Nanostars.
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This paper describes a label free technique for determining ligand loading on metal nanoparticles using a variant of secondary ion mass spectrometry. Au4004+ clusters bombard DNA-functionalized anisotropic gold nanostars and isotropic nanospheres with similar surface areas to determine ligand density. For each projectile impact, co-localized molecules within the emission area of a single impact (diameter of 10-15 nm) were examined for each particle. Individual nanoparticle analysis allows for determination of the relationship between particle geometry and DNA loading. We found that branched particles exhibited increased ligand density versus nanospheres and determined that positive and neutral curvature could facilitate additional loading. This methodology can be applied to optimize loading for any ligand-core interaction independent of nanoparticle core, ligand, or attachment chemistry.