This study discusses the strategies on sample preparation to acquire images with sufficient quality for size characterization by scanning electron microscope (SEM) using two commercial ZnO nanoparticles of different surface properties as a demonstration. The central idea is that micrometer sized aggregates of ZnO in powdered forms need to firstly be broken down to nanosized particles through an appropriate process to generate nanoparticle dispersion before being deposited on a flat surface for SEM observation. Analytical tools such as contact angle, dynamic light scattering and zeta potential have been utilized to optimize the procedure for sample preparation and to check the quality of the results. Meanwhile, measurements of zeta potential values on flat surfaces also provide critical information and save lots of time and efforts in selection of suitable substrate for particles of different properties to be attracted and kept on the surface without further aggregation. This simple, low-cost methodology can be generally applied on size characterization of commercial ZnO nanoparticles with limited information from vendors. © 2017

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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