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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 146031, 7 pages
Research Article

One-Step Synthesis of PEGylated Gold Nanoparticles with Tunable Surface Charge

1Department of Pharmaceutical-Biophysics, Faculty of Pharmacy, “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Pasteur 6, 400349 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Department of Solid State Physics and Advanced Technologies, Faculty of Physics, “Babes-Bolyai” University, Kogalniceanu 1, 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Pasteur 6, 400349 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
4Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Creanga 12, 400010 Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Received 18 June 2013; Accepted 7 September 2013

Academic Editor: Donglu Shi

Copyright © 2013 Rares Stiufiuc et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present work reports a rapid, simple and efficient one-step synthesis and detailed characterisation of stable aqueous colloids of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) coated with unmodified poly(ethylene)glycol (PEG) molecules of different molecular weights and surface charges. By mixing and heating aqueous solutions of PEG with variable molecular chain and gold(III) chloride hydrate (HAuCl4) in the presence of NaOH, we have successfully produced uniform colloidal 5 nm PEG coated AuNPs of spherical shape with tunable surface charge and an average diameter of 30 nm within a few minutes. It has been found out that PEGylated AuNPs provide optical enhancement of the characteristic vibrational bands of PEG molecules attached to the gold surface when they are excited with both visible (532 nm) and NIR (785 nm) laser lines. The surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) signal does not depend on the length of the PEG molecular chain enveloping the AuNPs, and the stability of the colloid is not affected by the addition of concentrated salt solution (0.1 M NaCl), thus suggesting their potential use for in vitro and in vivo applications. Moreover, by gradually changing the chain length of the biopolymer, we were able to control nanoparticles’ surface charge from −28 to −2 mV, without any modification of the Raman enhancement properties and of the colloidal stability.