Metal nanoparticles exhibit specific electronic, chemical and optical properties due to the thermodynamic size effect, which cannot be observed in bulk materials. Ag NPs show size dependent melting temperature depression phenomena. In this study, the thermal sintering behavior of the self-assembled monolayer protected Ag NPs has been observed using in situ transmission electron microscopy. The thermal characteristics of the Ag NPs have also been examined with a thermogravimetric analysis, a differential scanning calorimetry and a thermal conductivity measurement. These assessments have shown that the melting of the Ag NPs starts at 150 degrees C, which is much lower than the melting temperature of bulk silver (960 degrees C). The measured thermal conductivity of the Ag NPs (0.37 W/(m K)) is also lower than that of bulk silver (429 W/(m K)). These specific thermal properties of the Ag NPs can be applied to a low-temperature and a high-resolution direct-metal patterning process. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.