Synthesis of fluorescent BSA–Au NCs for the detection of Hg2+ ions
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In this study, we present a simple heating approach for preparation of gold nanoclusters (Au NCs) using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a template. At 70 °C, the reaction for the preparation of BSA–Au NCs is completed within 20 min. By conducting matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), we have found that the main product is BSA–Au20 NCs that emit at 660 nm when excited at 330 nm due to “molecular-like” behavior. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy data reveal that there are Au+ ions and Au atoms coexisting in the BSA–Au NCs. The as-prepared Au NCs show excellent stability over a wide pH range (2.0–10.0). The fluorescence and MALDI-MS data reveal that the changes in their fluorescence properties are due to the formation of various sizes of BSA–Au NCs for different periods of reaction time. The as-prepared BSA–Au NCs are selective and sensitive (limit of detection of 4 nM at a signal-to noise ratio 3) for the detection of Hg2+ ions through the d10–d10 metallophilic interaction of Au+ and Hg2+ that leads to a decrease in fluorescence. The present assay has been validated for the detection of Hg2+ ions in real water samples, with a result being in good agreement with that from inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.
KeywordsGold nanoclusters Fluorescent MALDI-MS Mercury detection
This study was supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan under contracts NSC 98-2113-M-002-011-MY3.
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