A non-aggregation colorimetric method for trace lead(ii) ions based on the leaching of gold nanorods

Yu Jing Lan, Yang Wei Lin

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We report a simple and fast colorimetric method using gold nanorods (Au NRs) as sensing probes to detect Pb2+ ions in complex real samples. The method is based on Pb2+ ions increasing the leaching rate of Au NRs induced by thiosulfate (S2O32-). A positively charged bilayer of the surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium bromide on the Au NR surfaces facilitates the electrostatic adsorption of S 2O32-, and the longitudinal surface plasmon resonance absorption of S2O32-/Au NRs that are produced is slightly decreased. The formation of Pb-Au alloys on the surfaces of Au NRs leads to a significant decrease in the electrode potential of gold; thus, increasing the dissolution rate of the gold, which is dependent on the Pb2+ ion concentration. Using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we proved that Pb-Au alloys were formed on the Au NR surfaces in the presence of Pb2+ ions and S 2O32-. The reaction temperature and time, the buffer pH, and the S2O32- concentration are important parameters in determining the sensitivity and selectivity of the method for sensing Pb2+ ions. Under the optimum conditions (3.0 mM S2O32-, 51 pM Au NRs, 10 mM Tris-HCl buffer, and pH 8.0), the limit of detection for Pb2+ ions, giving a signal-to-noise ratio of 3, was 4.3 nM. We used this nanosensor system to determine Pb2+ ions in complex real samples (lake, pond, seawater, urine, and soil samples), and found that this approach offers advantages in terms of its simplicity, accuracy, and precision (the relative standard deviations of triplicate analyses of each sample were below 3%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7234-7242
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Methods
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sep 21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Engineering(all)

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