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J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces. 2011 Nov 10;115(44):21852-21857.

Replacement of Poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) by Thiols: A Systematic Study of Ag Nanocube Functionalization by Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63130, United States.


In this work, we used surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) to monitor the replacement of poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) on Ag nanocubes by cysteamine, thiol-terminated PEG, and benzenedithiol. PVP is widely used as a colloidal stabilizer and capping agent to control the shape of Ag (as well as many other noble metals) nanocrystals during synthesis, and to stabilize the final colloidal suspension. However, the surface chemistry of Ag nanocrystals often needs to be tailored for specific applications, so the PVP coating must be removed and/or replaced by other ligands. By monitoring the signature peak from the carbonyl groups of PVP, we show, for the first time, that the PVP adsorbed on the surface of Ag nanocubes was completely replaced by the thiol molecules at room temperature over the course of a few hours. We observed the same trend no matter if the Ag nanocubes were suspended in an aqueous solution of the thiol or supported on a silicon substrate and then immersed in the thiol solution.

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