Density, Structure, and Stability of Citrate3- and H2citrate- on Bare and Coated Gold Nanoparticles

Gene Chong, Elizabeth D. Laudadio, Meng Wu, Catherine J. Murphy, Robert J. Hamers, Rigoberto Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We simulate the packing of citrate3- and H2citrate- onto gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to understand how citrate anions cap and stabilize AuNPs. We determine the molecular configurations of citrate on 4, 6, and 8 nm AuNP surfaces as a function of charge state and packing density and find that both the distribution of configurations and maximum packing density are independent of AuNP size. A combination of molecular dynamics simulations and in situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is employed to compare the molecular configurations, stability, and density of citrate on 4 nm citrate-coated (cit-AuNPs) and within polycation-wrapped 4 nm cit-AuNPs. FTIR experiments indicate the presence of H2citrate- within polycation-wrapped cit-AuNPs with coordination between the H2citrate- layer and polycation layer in agreement with simulations. Intermolecular hydrogen bonding between terminal carboxylic acid groups of H2citrate- stabilizes the anionic layer at the interface between cit-AuNPs and adsorbing charged molecules. The calculated total density of H2citrate- on AuNPs decreases from 3.3 × 10-10 to 3.0 × 10-10 mol/cm2 upon adsorption of a polycation due to some displacement of dangling H2citrate- hydrogen bonded to the surface-bound layer. The density of the surface-bound layer is consistently 2.8 × 10-10 mol/cm2 with and without polycation adsorption. We provide all-atom level insight into the distribution and organization of experimentally derived binding modes of citrate on bare and coated cit-AuNPs. The citrate density and surface charge density are determined for all-atom and coarse-grained modeling of cit-AuNPs, their functionalization, and transformations in complex environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28393-28404
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 13 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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