Seeded growth of gold nanorods: the effect of sulfur-containing quenching agents

  • Alberto Gobbo
  • Riccardo Marin
  • Patrizia Canton
Research Paper


Herein we present a study on the efficacy of selected sulfur-containing species as growth quenchers and metal ion scavengers in the framework of gold nanorod (GNR) synthesis. The here utilized seeded growth method is the reference GNR synthesis approach. However, GNRs synthesized according to it are prone to morphological changes upon aging, promoted by the presence of unreacted metal ions in the stock suspension. This, in turn, leads to optical property changes. Sodium sulfide is an efficient GNR growth quencher and metal ion scavenger, because sulfide ion has a strong affinity towards noble metals used for the GNRs’ synthesis. Moving from these considerations, different sulfur-containing molecules were selected and their interaction with GNR surface was investigated: sulfate, sulfite, thiourea, and dodecyl sulfate were chosen for their difference in terms of net charge, size, and hydrophobicity. We initially assessed the best synthesis conditions in terms of reaction time, seed amount, silver concentration, and quencher amount. Consequently, the quencher/scavenger was varied. Thiourea, sulfite, and sulfate ions all showed a feeble, yet non-negligible, interaction with metals. Although sodium sulfide turned out to be the most efficient quencher/scavenger, also dodecyl sulfate showed evidences of adsorption on the GNR surface, probably prompted by hydrophobic interactions. These findings are expected to contribute as a background for further advancements in the perfection of GNR synthetic approaches specifically in terms of post-synthesis treatments.


Gold Nanorods Quenching agents Sulfide Silver Seed 


Author contributions

The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.


Ca’ Foscari ADIR 2016 is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2018_4159_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 3738 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Sciences and NanosystemsUniversità Ca’ Foscari VeneziaVeniceItaly
  2. 2.Insitut National de la Recherche Scientifique – Énergie, Matériaux, Télécommunications (INRS-EMT)VarennesCanada

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