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Core/Shell Cu@Ag Nanoparticle: A Versatile Platform for Colorimetric Visualization of Inorganic Anions

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journal contribution
posted on 26.10.2011, 00:00 by Jia Zhang, Yue Yuan, Xiaowen Xu, Xiaolei Wang, Xiurong Yang
Recognition and sensing of anions in aqueous media have been of considerable interest while remaining a challenging task up to date. In this document, we wish to present a simple yet sensitive method to detect inorganic anions by colorimetry based on the citrate-stabilized core/shell Cu@Ag nanoparticle (NP). It was found that the NP could discriminate some specific anions (Cl, Br, I, S2–, and SCN) from a wide range of environmentally dominant anions (F, SO42–, H2PO4, CO32–, NO3, etc), identified by the change in the color of the buffered NP solution or the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) absorbance band in the UV–vis spectrum. Among the recognized anions, four types of variation in the SPR absorption band were revealed. It was strongly enhanced for Cl and Br and was strongly damped for S2–. For I, it first was slightly enhanced at lower concentrations and then gradually was damped at higher concentrations. For SCN, it first was slightly damped at lower concentrations and then was strongly enhanced at higher concentrations. In response to the optical change, the color of the NP solution turned from brown to bright yellow for Cl (1 mM), Br (10 μM), and SCN (50 μM) to brownish orange for I (10 μM) and to reddish orange for S2– (50 μM). The reason for these phenomena was postulated by the evidence of transmission electron microscope (TEM) images, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and zeta potentials. In view of the importance of anions in the environment and for human health, the Cu@Ag NP colorimetric platform may have some applications, such as discriminating household table salt (NaCl) from industrial salt (NaNO2), testing the quality and extent of a variety of waters, and so forth.

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