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Anal Chem. 2006 Jan 15;78(2):445-51.

Pushing the limits of mercury sensors with gold nanorods.

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Department of Chemistry, P.O. Box 25000, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816-2366, USA.


The method presented here provides a direct way to determine mercury in tap water samples at the parts-per-trillion level. Its outstanding selectivity and sensitivity results from the well-known amalgamation process that occurs between mercury and gold. The entire procedure takes less than 10 min. No sample separation or sample preconcentration is required. The only step prior to mercury determination consists of mixing the water sample with a gold nanorod solution in sodium borohydride. The analytical figures of merit demonstrate precise and accurate analysis at the parts-per-trillion level. The limit of detection (6.6 x 10(-13) g x L(-1)) shows excellent potential for monitoring ultralow levels of mercury in water samples.

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