A topological insulator (TI) represents an unconventional quantum phase of matter with insulating bulk band gap and metallic surface states. Recent theoretical calculations and photoemission spectroscopy measurements show that group V-VI materials Bi2Se3, Bi2Te3, and Sb2Te3 are TIs with a single Dirac cone on the surface. These materials have anisotropic, layered structures, in which five atomic layers are covalently bonded to form a quintuple layer, and quintuple layers interact weakly through van der Waals interaction to form the crystal. A few quintuple layers of these materials are predicted to exhibit interesting surface properties. Different from our previous nanoribbon study, here we report the synthesis and characterizations of ultrathin Bi2Te3 and Bi2Se3 nanoplates with thickness down to 3 nm (3 quintuple layers), via catalyst-free vapor-solid (VS) growth mechanism. Optical images reveal thickness-dependent color and contrast for nanoplates grown on oxidized silicon (300 nm SiO2/Si). As a new member of TI nanomaterials, ultrathin TI nanoplates have an extremely large surface-to-volume ratio and can be electrically gated more effectively than the bulk form, potentially enhancing surface state effects in transport measurements. Low-temperature transport measurements of a single nanoplate device, with a high-k dielectric top gate, show decrease in carrier concentration by several times and large tuning of chemical potential. © 2010 American Chemical Society.