Polyethylene glycol functionalized gold nanoparticles: the influence of capping density on stability in various media

Research paper by Joanne Manson, Dhiraj Kumar, Brian J. Meenan, Dorian Dixon

Indexed on: 27 Apr '11Published on: 27 Apr '11Published in: Gold Bulletin


Thiol-terminated polyethylene glycol (PEG) is commonly used to functionalize the surface of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in order to improve their in vivo stability and to avoid uptake by the reticular endothelial system. Although it has been reported that AuNPs functionalized with tethered PEG are stable in biological media, the influence of chain density remains unclear. This study investigates the influence of PEG capping density on the stability of washed and dried AuNPs in: water, phosphate-buffered saline solution (PBS), phosphate-buffered saline solution containing bovine serum albumin (PBS/BSA), and dichloromethane (DCM). PEG coating had a dramatic effect on stability enabling stable suspensions to be produced in all the media studied. A linear relationship was observed between capping density and stability in water and DCM with a somewhat lower stability observed in PBS and PBS/BSA. A maximum PEG loading level of ∼14 wt.% was achieved, equivalent to a PEG surface density of ∼1.13 chains/nm2.