Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Hypothesis: Citrate capped gold nanoparticles (AuNPs-citrate) are the starting material for most of the academic and industrial applications using gold nanoparticles. AuNPs-citrate must usually be functionalized with organic (bio)molecules, through a ligand exchange process, to become suitable for the envisaged application. The evaluation of the efficiency of the ligand-exchange process with a simple and convenient procedure is challenging. Experiments: Fluoride was used to evaluate the efficiency of a ligand exchange process from AuNPs-citrate with five standard types of ligands. The relationship between the aggregation level of the AuNPs exposed to fluoride and the amount of residual citrate ligands at the surface of the AuNPs was studied. The fluoride-induced aggregation process was characterized with various techniques such as TEM, UV-Vis, ATR-FTIR or MANTA and then used to quickly identify the optimal conditions for the functionalization of AuNPs-citrate with a new ligand, i.e. a PEGylated calixarene-tetradiazonium salt (X4-(PEG)4). Findings: It was observed that the fluoride-induced aggregation of AuNPs is proportional to the efficiency of the ligands exchange. We believe that these results could benefit to everyone engineering AuNPs for advanced applications, as the fluoride-aggregation of AuNPs can be used as a general and versatile quality test to verify the coating density of organic (bio)molecules on AuNPs.