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Talanta. 2013 Mar 15;106:73-8. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2012.11.064. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Highly selective and sensitive gold nanoparticle-based colorimetric assay for PO₄³⁻ in aqueous solution.

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  • 1Department of Applied Chemistry, College of Science, Nanjing University of Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Industrial Water-Conservation and Emission Reduction, Nanjing 210009, People's Republic of China.


A rapid, simple and real-time colorimetric assay for detecting phosphate anions (PO₄(3-)) in aqueous solution was developed. The method was based on a novel functionalized gold nanoparticles (MPTP-Zn-AuNPs), which was synthesized by the ligand-exchange reaction of 4'-(4-mercaptophenyl)-2,2':6',2″-terpyridine zinc(II) complex (MPTP-Zn) with citrate-stabilized aqueous AuNPs. The strong coordination between MPTP-Zn-AuNPs and PO₄(3-) anion gave rise to a color change from wine-red to blue-gray that was discernible by the naked eye and an easily measurable alteration in the absorption spectrum of the particles in aqueous solution. And the new technique exhibited the high selectivity for PO₄(3-) over 11 other anions and could be used to determine PO₄(3-) with a detection limit of 11 ppm.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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