Photoreduction of Au(III) to form Au(0) nanoparticles using ferritin as a photocatalyst

Robert J. Hilton, Jeremiah D. Keyes, Richard K. Watt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Gold metal nanoparticles have applications in bio sensing technology, nano-tube formation, and cancer therapy. We report attempts to synthesize gold nanoparticles within the ferritin cavity (8 nm) or to use ferritin as a scaffold for coating gold on the outside surface (12 nm). The intrinsic iron oxide core of ferritin is a semi-conductor and light can excite electrons to a conduction band producing a powerful reductant when a sacrificial electron donor fills the electron hole. We present a method using ferritin to photo chemically reduce Au(III) to metallic gold nanoparticles. During initial studies we observed that the choice of buffers influenced the products that formed as evidenced by a red product formed in TRIS and a purple produce formed in MOPS. Gold nanoparticles formed in MOPS buffer in the absence of illumination have diameters of 15-30 nm whereas illumination in TRIS buffer produced 5-10 nm gold nanoparticles. Increases in temperature cause the gold nanoparticles to form more rapidly. Chemical reduction and photochemical reduction methods have very different reaction profiles with photochemical reduction possessing a lag phase prior to the formation of gold nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2010
StatePublished - 2010
EventNanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2010 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2010Mar 11 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceNanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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