Microchimica Acta

, Volume 180, Issue 5–6, pp 493–499 | Cite as

Highly sensitive and selective voltammetric detection of mercury(II) using an ITO electrode modified with 5-methyl-2-thiouracil, graphene oxide and gold nanoparticles

  • Na Zhou
  • Hao Chen
  • Jinhua Li
  • Lingxin Chen
Original Paper


We have developed an electrochemical sensor for highly selective and sensitive determination of Hg(II). It is based on the specific binding of 5-methyl-2-thiouracil (MTU) and Hg(II) to the surface of an indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode modified with a composite made from graphene oxide (GO) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). This leads to a largely enhanced differential pulse voltammetric response for Hg(II). Following optimization of the method, a good linear relationship (R = 0.9920) is found between peak current and the concentration of Hg(II) in the 5.0–110.0 nM range. The limit of detection (LOD) is 0.78 nM at a signal-to-noise ratio of 3. A study on the interference by several metal ions revealed no interferences. The feasibility of this method was demonstrated by the analyses of real water samples. The LODs are 6.9, 1.0 and 1.9 nM for tap water, bottled water and lake water samples, respectively, and recoveries for the water samples spiked with 8.0, 50.0 and 100.0 nM were 83.9–96.8 %, with relative standard deviations ranging from 3.3 % to 5.2 %.


Schematic illustration of the enhanced electrochemical detection strategy for Hg(II) via specific interaction of 5-methyl-2-thiouracil (MTU) and Hg(II) based on graphene oxide and gold nanoparticles (GO-AuNPs) composites modified on the indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode.


Mercury ion 5-Methyl-2-thiouracil Graphene oxide Gold nanoparticle 



This work was financially supported by the Scientific Research Foundation for the Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, State Education Ministry, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21275158), and the 100 Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (YIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental ProcessesYICCASYantaiPeople’s Republic of China

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