Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gold Nanoparticles

Gold Nanoparticles, Credit: Andras Vladar, NISTCaption: False color scanning electron micrograph (250,000 times magnification) showing the gold nanoparticles created by NIST and the National Cancer Institute's Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory for use as reference standards in biomedical research laboratories. Credit: Andras Vladar, NIST. Usage Restrictions: None.
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Colloidal gold From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colloidal gold, also known as "nanogold", is a suspension (or colloid) of sub-micrometre-sized particles of gold in a fluid — usually water. The liquid is usually either an intense red colour (for particles less than 100 nm), or a dirty yellowish colour (for larger particles). The nanoparticles themselves can come in a variety of shapes. Spheres, rods, cubes, and caps are some of the more frequently observed ones.

Known since ancient times, the synthesis of colloidal gold was originally used as a method of staining glass. Modern scientific evaluation of colloidal gold did not begin until Michael Faraday's work of the 1850s. Due to the unique optical, electronic, and molecular-recognition properties of gold nanoparticles, they are the subject of substantial research, with applications in a wide variety of areas, including electronics, nanotechnology, and the synthesis of novel materials with unique properties.

Generally, gold nanoparticles are produced in a liquid ("liquid chemical methods") by reduction of hydrogen tetrachloroaurate (HAuCl4), although more advanced and precise methods do exist. After dissolving HAuCl4, the solution is rapidly stirred while a reducing agent is added. This causes Au3+ ions to reduce to un-ionized gold atoms. As more and more of these gold atoms form, the solution becomes supersaturated, and gold gradually starts to precipitate in the form of sub-nanometer particles. The rest of the gold atoms that form stick to the existing particles, and, if the solution is stirred vigorously enough, the particles will be fairly uniform in size.

To prevent the particles from aggregating, some sort of stabilizing agent that sticks to the nanoparticle surface is usually added. They can be functionalized with various organic ligands to create organic-inorganic hybrids with advanced functionality.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Colloidal gold

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