Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Visualizing Nanoparticle Dissolution by Imaging Mass Spectrometry



Christopher W. Szakal, Melissa S. Ugelow, Justin M. Gorham, Andrew R. Konicek, Richard D. Holbrook


We demonstrate the ability to visualize nanoparticle dissolution while simultaneously providing chemical signatures that differentiate between citrate-capped silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), AgNPs forced into dissolution via exposure to UV radiation, silver nitrate (AgNO3), and AgNO3/citrate deposited from aqueous solutions and suspensions. We utilize recently developed inkjet printing (IJP) protocols to deposit the different solutions/suspensions as NP aggregates and soluble species, which separate onto surfaces in situ, and collect mass spectral imaging data via timeof- flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS. Resulting 2D Ag+ chemical images provide the ability to distinguish between the different Ag-containing starting materials and, when coupled with mass spectral peak ratios, provide information-rich data sets for quick and reproducible visualization of NP-based aqueous constituents. When compared to other measurements aimed at studying NP dissolution, the IJP-TOF-SIMS approach offers valuable information that can potentially help in understanding the complex equilibria in NP-containing solutions and suspensions, including NP dissolution kinetics and extent of overall dissolution.
Analytical Chemistry


nanoparticle, dissolution, silver, imaging, SIMS, inkjet printing
Created March 10, 2014, Updated February 19, 2017