Chemical Physics and Dynamics of Surfaces – Surface functionalization – Chemical control of the electronic properties of gold nanoparticles


  • Permanent member: Olivier Pluchery
  • PhD student: Angeline Dileseigres


Gold nanoparticles can be viewed as extra-small electrodes and help understand how electronic currents can be controlled at the smallest scale at complex interfaces. The unrivalled advantage of gold over any other metals is to remain metallic at the nanoscale, without being modified by oxidation. We are currently investigating how the work function of gold is modified at the nanoscale, how the electric charging of single nanoparticle is controlled by its chemical functionalization.

For example, the number of charges stored by individual nanoparticles was measured in air with KPFM (Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy). Our group has recently purchased a state-of-the-art KPFM (2015). Currently we investigate how the nature of molecules capping gold nanoparticles modifies their electrical properties (work function, charge state).


CaptionExperimental demonstration of the dependence with nanoparticle diameter of the WF of functionalized nanoparticles. WFNP = WFref + CPD where CPD is the Contact Potential Difference. (Results from L. Bossard PhD, 2018).



  • Louis Caillard (14-nov-2014). Grafted organic monolayers for single electron transport and for quantum dot solar cells
  • Léo Bossard-Giannesini (19-oct-2018). Measurement and modeling of the work function of functionalized and supported gold nanoparticles



  • M. Salmeron (University of California Berkeley)
  • D. Loffreda (ENS-Lyon)
  • A. Demessence (IRCELYON)



  • CNRS support for the purchase of an AFM Park-NX20 microscope (2019)
  • TOPPING project (Tremplin CNRS, led by Anna Lévy INSP)



  • Zhang, Y.; Kang, J.; Pluchery, O.; Caillard, L.; Chabal, Y. J.; Wang, L.-W.; Sanz, J. F.; Salmeron, M., Nanoimaging of Organic Charge Retention Effects: Implications for Nonvolatile Memory, Neuromorphic Computing, and High Dielectric Breakdown Devices. ACS Applied Nano Materials 2019, 2 (8), 4711-4716.
  • Yingjie Zhang, Olivier Pluchery, Louis Caillard, Anne-Félicie Lamic-Humblot, Sandra Casale, et al.. Sensing the Charge State of Single Gold Nanoparticles via Work Function Measurements. Nano Letters, American Chemical Society, 2015, 15 (1), pp.51-55. ⟨10.1021/nl503782s⟩. ⟨hal-01120624⟩