Detection of charges and molecules with self-assembled nano-oscillators

Xiaonan Shan, Yimin Fang, Shaopeng Wang, Yan Guan, Hong Yuan Chen, Nongjian Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Detection of a single or small amount of charges and molecules in biologically relevant aqueous solutions is a long-standing goal in analytical science and detection technology. Here we report on self-assembled nano-oscillators for charge and molecular binding detections in aqueous solutions. Each nano-oscillator consists of a nanoparticle linked to a solid surface via a molecular tether. By applying an oscillating electric field normal to the surface, the nanoparticles oscillate, which is detected individually with ∼0.1 nm accuracy by a plasmonic imaging technique. From the oscillation amplitude and phase, the charge of the nanoparticles is determined with a detection limit of ∼0.18 electron charges along with the charge polarity. We further demonstrate the detection of molecular binding with the self-assembled nano-oscillators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4151-4157
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 9 2014


  • Nano-oscillators
  • plasmonic imaging technique
  • single charge detection
  • small molecule detection
  • surface plasmon resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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