Research | Queen’s University Canada

Nano-dendrite Collision

This scanning electron microscopy image depicts branched gold nanostructures (“nano-dendrites”) growing from planar microelectrode tips and crashing halfway, buckling upwards to create a third dimension of nano-features. The structures assemble from gold nanoparticles under the influence of an applied electric field, similar to how iron filings assemble under the influence of a magnetic field. The gold nanoparticle building blocks are 50nm in diameter – about 5000 times smaller than a human hair. The branched network formed by these nanostructures promotes incredible sensitivity for small molecule detection by means of Raman spectroscopy. At the QuSENS laboratory, and with the startup company Spectra Plasmonics Inc., we use these nanostructures to detect illicit drugs, pesticides, and explosives at ultralow and societally relevant concentrations.
Submission Year: 
Photographer's affiliation: 
Graduate student
Academic areas: 
Engineering and Applied Science
Graduate Studies
Branched gold nanostructures
PhD student/candidate
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Chemical Engineering
School of Graduate Studies
Materials Discovery and Molecular Design
Fundamental Principles of Nature: from Discovery to Application and Innovation
Location of photograph: 
Dupuis Hall, Queen's University
Photographer's name: 
Hannah Dies
Display Photographers Affiltion + Faculty or Department: 
MD/PhD Student, Chemical Engineering