Gold nanoparticles decorated with oligo(ethylene glycol) thiols: enhanced Hofmeister effects in colloid−protein mixtures

Fajun Zhang, Maximilian W.A. Skoda, Robert M.J. Jacobs, Richard Martin, Christopher M. Martin, Graham F. Clark, Tobias Lamkemeyer, Frank Schreiber

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Oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) thiol self-assembled monolayer (SAM) decorated gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have potential applications in bionanotechnology due to their unique property of preventing the nonspecific absorption of protein on the colloidal surface. For colloid-protein mixtures, a previous study (Zhang et al. J. Phys. Chem. A 2007, 111, 12229) has shown that the OEG SAM-coated AuNPs become unstable upon addition of proteins (BSA) above a critical concentration, c*. This has been explained as a depletion effect in the two-component system. Adding salt (NaCl) can reduce the value of c*; that is, reduce the stability of the mixture. In the present work, we study the influence of the nature of the added salt on the stability of this two-component colloid-protein system. It is shown that the addition of various salts does not change the stability of either protein or colloid in solution in the experimental conditions of this work, except that sodium sulfate can destabilize the colloidal solutions. In the binary mixtures, however, the stability of colloid-protein mixtures shows significant dependence on the nature of the salt: chaotropic salts (NaSCN, NaClO4, NaNO3, MgCl2) stabilize the system with increasing salt concentration, while kosmotropic salts (NaCl, Na2SO4, NH4Cl) lead to the aggregation of colloids with increasing salt concentration. These observations indicate that the Hofmeister effect can be enhanced in two-component systems; that is, the modification of the colloidal interface by ions changes significantly the effective depletive interaction via proteins. Real time SAXS measurements confirm in all cases that the aggregates are in an amorphous state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4839-4847
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry: Part C
Issue number12
Early online date3 Mar 2009
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2009


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