The multivalent nature of commercial nanoparticle imaging agents and the difficulties associated with producing monovalent nanoparticles challenge their use in biology, where clustering of target biomolecules can perturb dynamics of biomolecular targets. Here, we report production and purification of monovalent gold and silver nanoparticles for their single molecule imaging application. We first synthesized DNA-conjugated 20 nm and 40 nm gold and silver nanoparticles via conventional metal-thiol chemistry, yielding nanoparticles with mixed valency. By employing an anion-exchange high performance liquid chromatography (AE-HPLC) method, we purified monovalent nanoparticles from the mixtures. To allow efficient peak-separation resolution while keeping the excellent colloidal stability of nanoparticles against harsh purification condition (e.g. high NaCl), we optimized surface properties of nanoparticles by modulating surface functional groups. We characterized the monovalent character of the purified nanoparticles by hybridizing two complementary conjugates, forming dimers. Finally, we demonstrate the use of the monovalent plasmonic nanoprobes as single molecule imaging probes by tracking single TrkA receptors diffusing on the cell membrane and compare to monovalent quantum dot probes.