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Developing an experimental design to investigate gold nanoparticle synthesis

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  • In this part of the module students are asked to research and read scholarly articles pertaining to the synthesis of gold nanoparticles and come up with an experimental procedure. They should be referred to the basic approach developed by Turkevich (reference 8) as well as more recent papers (reference 6 and 7). Most articles do not address pH as a variable, so the instructor should make sure that students are aware of these two references.

    Q9. Which experimental parameters can be varied that could potentially affect the growth of nanoparticles?

    The most obvious parameters are the relative concentrations of citrate to auric acid. Students can explore any ratio but data are available for 2:1, 4:1, and 7:1 ratio of citrate to auric acid. pH is also an important variable and gold nanoparticle synthesis could be explored at pHs slightly above each pKa value of citric acid. Data are included for pH values of 4.2, 5.4 and 7.0. Other possible variables to explore include rate of citrate addition, order of reagents, temperature, stirring rate, etc. However, these variables have not been investigated in our study and no data are available to illustrate any potential effects.

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