Size-dependent direct electrochemical detection of gold nanoparticles: application in magnetoimmunoassays.

PMID 21761067


The effect of the AuNPs size, ranging from 5 nm to 80 nm, on the electrochemical response of screen-printed carbon electrodes (SPCEs) used as electrochemical transducers is investigated for the first time. A simple hydrodynamic modelling and calculation at the nanoscale level is applied so as to find the effect of the size of AuNP upon the electrochemical response. The results show that the best electrochemical response for AuNP suspension for the same concentration of total gold is obtained for the 20 nm sized nanoparticles. It is concluded that the Brownian motions avoid a better response for smaller AuNPs that should in fact be related with the best electrochemical signal due to their higher surface area. Finally, the size effect is studied for AuNPs acting as electroactive labels in an immunosensor that employs magnetic beads as platforms of the bioreactions. The best response for the 5 nm AuNPs in this case is due to the fact that in the immunosensing conditions the Brownian motions are minimized because the AuNPs contact with the electrotransducer surface is induced by the immunoreaction and the fast magnetic collection of the nanoparticles used as antibody labels upon application of a magnetic field.