Microchimica Acta

, Volume 176, Issue 1–2, pp 57–64 | Cite as

Visual and colorimetric detection of mercury(II) ion using gold nanoparticles stabilized with a dithia-diaza ligand

Original Paper


We have developed a simple method for the highly selective colorimetric detection of dissolved mercury(II) ions via direct formation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The dithia-diaza ligand 2-[3-(2-amino-ethylsulfanyl)-propylsulfanyl]-ethylamine (AEPE) was used as a stabilizer to protect AuNPs from aggregation and to impart highly selective recognition of Hg(II) ion over other metal ions. A solution of Au(III) ion is directly reduced by sodium borohydride in the presence of AEPE and the detergent Triton X-100. This results in the formation of AEPE-AuNPs and a red coloration of the solution. On the other hand, in the presence of Hg(II), the solution turns blue within a few seconds after the addition of borohydride. This can be detected spectrophotometrically or even visually. The method was successfully applied to quantify Hg(II) levels in water sample, with a minimum detectable concentration as low as 35 nM.


A rapid colorimetric method for Hg2+ detection based on the reduction of Au3+ to gold nanoparticles in the presence of dithia-diaza (2S-2N) ligand was developed. The colors of the solutions without and with Hg2+ were red and blue, respectively.


Gold nanoparticle Mercury(II) Dithia-diaza ligand Colorimetric detection Naked-eye 

Supplementary material

604_2011_691_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (211 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 211 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand

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