Quantitative evaluation of the stability of engineered water soluble nanoparticles

MJ Mulvihill, S Habas, T Mokari, J Wan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Stability of nanoparticle solutions is a key factor dictating the bioavailability and transport characteristics of nanoparticles (NPs) in the environment. The synthesis of materials with dimensions less than 100 nm relies on the ability to stabilize surfaces. If the stabilization of the material is disrupted by aggregation, precipitation, or dissolution, the chemical and physical properties often revert to the properties of the bulk material or molecular constituents. We synthesized CdSe and gold NPs, and studied their aggregation rate and the critical coagulation concentration (CCC) using Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS). The chemical and physical properties of our NPs have been characterized by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), UV-VIS spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, Zeta potential measurements, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) measurements. This comprehensive approach to synthesis and characterization enables the isolation of design parameters with greater precision that can be obtained using commercially available NPs. This research evaluates NP design parameters including composition, size, and surface coating, as a function of concentration, pH, and ionic strength, to determine which factors most affect NP stability. The aggregation characteristics of both gold NPs and cadmium selinide NPs, which are between 2-12 nm in diameter, and have been capped with various ligands, have been studied. While previous work demonstrates that these variables influence stability, it does not systematically compare their relative significance. Our results indicate that changing the ligand shell radically affects the stability of NP as a function of both pH and ionic strength, while changing the material from CdSe to gold has only a moderate influence on the stability and aggregation characteristics of our particles. Additionally, the ligand charge, length, and binding affinity all significantly effect NP stability. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the joint BER-EPA-NSF nanoparticulate research program. Aggregation behavior of gold and CdSe nanoparticles both capped with mercaptoundecanoic acid as a function of ionic strength.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationAGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
StatePublished - 2009


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