Charge is a fundamental property of a molecule, and precisely measuring it enables detection of the molecule and helps understand various chemical processes involving charge. Here we show a method to measure the charge of a single nanoparticle and binding of charged molecules to the nanoparticle using a conventional bright field optical microscope. The nanoparticle is tethered to an indium tin oxide surface with a polymer and driven into oscillation with an alternating electric field, which produces scattered light captured by a camera. The weak scattered light is separated from the intense bright field background using a Fourier transform filter, and the image contrast change provides the effective charge of the nanoparticle with precision of a few electron charges or less. This method allows us to detect DNA binding to the nanoparticles, demonstrating a simple method to detect and study molecules with a conventional optical microscope.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry