Copolymer-Coated Gold Nanoparticles: Enhanced Stability and Customizable Functionalization for Biological Assays

15 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) play a vital role in biotechnology, medicine, and diagnostics due to their unique optical properties. Their conjugation with antibodies, antigens, proteins, or nucleic acids enables precise targeting and enhances biosensing capabilities. Functionalized AuNPs, however, may experience reduced stability, leading to aggregation or loss of functionality, especially in complex biological environments. Additionally, they can show non-specific binding to unintended targets impairing assay specificity. Within this work, citrate-stabilized and silica coated AuNPs (GNPs and SiGNPs, respectively) have been coated using N,N-dimethylacrylamide-based copolymers to increase their stability and enable their functionalization with biomolecules. AuNPs stability after modification has been assessed by a combination of techniques including spectrophotometric characterization, nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy and functional microarray tests. Two different copolymers were identified to provide a stable coating of AuNPs while enabling further modification through click chemistry reactions, due to the presence of azide groups in the polymers. Following this experimental design, AuNPs decorated with ssDNA and streptavidin were synthesized and successfully used in a biological assay. In conclusion, a functionalization scheme for AuNPs has been developed that offers ease of modification, often requiring single steps and short incubation time. The obtained functionalized AuNPs offer huge flexibility, as the functionalization protocol can be personalized to match requirements of multiple assays.


Gold nanoparticles
Biomolecule functionalization

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Material
Additional description of experiments, figures and tables.


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