Research Article


2018, 11(12): 6336–6345


Tunable electrochemistry of gold-silver alloy nanoshells

Lorenzo Russo1,2, Victor Puntes1,3,4, and Arben Merkoi1,4 (*)

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1 Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), CSIC and BIST, Campus UAB, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
2 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Campus UAB, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
3 Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR), 08035 Barcelona, Spain
4 Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avanats (ICREA), P. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

Keywords: Au nanoshells, nanoparticles, surface chemistry, underpotential deposition
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ABSTRACT The widespread and increasing interest in enhancing biosensing technologies by increasing their sensitivities and lowering their costs has led to the exploration and application of complex nanomaterials as signal transducers and enhancers. In this work, the electrochemical properties of monodispersed AuAg alloy nanoshells (NSs) with finely tunable morphology, composition, and size are studied to assess their potential as electroactive labels. The controlled corrosion of their silver content, caused by the oxidizing character of dissolved oxygen and chlorides of the electrolyte, allows the generation of a reproducible electrochemical signal that is easily measurable through voltammetric techniques. Remarkably, the underpotential deposition of dissolved Ag+ catalyzed on AuAg NS surfaces is observed and its dependence on the nanoparticle morphology, size, and elemental composition is studied, revealing a strong correlation between the relative amounts of the two metals. The highest catalytic activity is found at Au/Ag ratios higher than ≈ 10, showing how the synergy between both metals is necessary to trigger the enhancement of Ag+ reduction. The ability of AuAg NSs to generate an electrocatalytic current without the need for any strong acid makes them an extremely promising material for biosensing applications.
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Tunable electrochemistry of gold-silver alloy nanoshells. Nano Res. 2018, 11(12): 6336–6345

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