Shape and size selective separation of gold nanoclusters by competitive complexation with octadecylamine monolayers at the air-water interface

Renu Pasricha, Amit Singh, Murali Sastry

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The paper presents a time-dependent study of shape-dependent preferential complexation of gold nanoparticles to the octadecyl amine (ODA) monolayers at the air-water interface. Room temperature reduction of chloroaurate ions using lemon grass leaf extract yields a mixture of spherical and triangular nanoparticles, which were used for this study. These nanoparticles have a net negative charge on their surface due to the presence of biomolecules from plant extract and thus a strong attractive electrostatic interaction with the positively charged ODA monolayers drives the complexation process. The extent of preferential complexation of the gold nanoparticles to the ODA monolayers is a function of the charge on the particles and the relative mobility of the nanoclusters in the medium. The complexation process has been followed in real time by a host of techniques such as surface pressure-area (π - A) isotherms, UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy and Brewster angle microscopy. The charge and mobility of the gold nanoparticles was confirmed by measurement of their electrophoretic mobility. Langmuir-Blodgett films of the nanogold-ODA composites have been characterized by UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. These measurements clearly indicate that the cluster mobility and complexation increase with decreasing cluster size. In the competitive complexation process of large and small gold particles, it was observed that some bigger gold particles were also incorporated into the amine matrix even though the cluster mobility is higher for smaller gold particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-388
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Competitive complexation
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Langmuir-Blodgett technique
  • ODA monolayer

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