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Langmuir. 2009 Aug 18;25(16):9518-24. doi: 10.1021/la900757s.

Iodide in CTAB prevents gold nanorod formation.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Materials Institute, Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


The gold nanocrystal seed-mediated approach using cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a stabilizing surfactant is commonly used to make large quantities of monodisperse gold nanorods. This method, however, has been at times difficult to reproduce in different laboratories. We recently showed [Smith, D. K.; Korgel, B. A. Langmuir 2008, 24, 644-649] that a very low concentration impurity in CTAB obtained from some suppliers prevents nanorod growth but were not able to identify the impurity. Here, we report that the impurity is iodide. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) revealed that iodide concentrations vary in CTAB from different suppliers, from less than 2.75 ppm up to 840 ppm. When CTAB with iodide concentrations greater than 50 ppm is used, nanorods do not form and the product consists entirely of spherical nanocrystals. Iodide slows the reduction of Au(III) to Au0. Iodide adsorption on Au {111} surfaces inhibits nanorod growth.

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