Addressing Colloidal Stability for Unambiguous Electroanalysis of Single Nanoparticle Impacts

Donald A. Robinson, Aditya M. Kondajji, Alma D. Castañeda, Radhika Dasari, Richard M. Crooks, Keith J. Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Herein the problem of colloidal instability on electrochemically detected nanoparticle (NP) collisions with a Hg ultramicroelectrode (UME) by electrocatalytic amplification is addressed. NP tracking analysis (NTA) shows that rapid aggregation occurs in solution after diluting citrate-stabilized Pt NPs with hydrazine/phosphate buffers of net ionic strength greater than 70 mM. Colloidal stability improves by lowering the ionic strength, indicating that aggregation processes were strongly affected by charge screening of the NP double layer interactions at high cation concentrations. For the system of lowest ionic strength, the overwhelming majority of observed electrocatalytic current signals represent single NP/electrode impacts, as confirmed by NTA kinetic monitoring. NP diffusion coefficients determined by NTA and NP impact electroanalysis are in excellent agreement for the stable colloids, which signifies that the sticking probability of Pt NPs interacting with Hg is unity and that the observed NP impact rate agrees with the expected steady-state diffusive flux expression for the spherical cap Hg UME.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2512-2517
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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