Synthesis and Characterization of Amphiphilic Gold Nanoparticles

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Gold nanoparticles covered with a mixture of 1-octanethiol (OT) and 11-mercapto-1-undecane sulfonic acid (MUS) have been extensively studied because of their interactions with cell membranes, lipid bilayers, and viruses. The hydrophilic ligands make these particles colloidally stable in aqueous solutions and the combination with hydrophobic ligands creates an amphiphilic particle that can be loaded with hydrophobic drugs, fuse with the lipid membranes, and resist nonspecific protein adsorption. Many of these properties depend on nanoparticle size and the composition of the ligand shell. It is, therefore, crucial to have a reproducible synthetic method and reliable characterization techniques that allow the determination of nanoparticle properties and the ligand shell composition. Here, a one-phase chemical reduction, followed by a thorough purification to synthesize these nanoparticles with diameters below 5 nm, is presented. The ratio between the two ligands on the surface of the nanoparticle can be tuned through their stoichiometric ratio used during synthesis. We demonstrate how various routine techniques, such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectrometry, are combined to comprehensively characterize the physicochemical parameters of the nanoparticles.