Concurrent zero-dimensional and one-dimensional biomineralization of gold from a solution of Au3+ and bovine serum albumin
"National institute for materials science" A technique was developed for preparing a novel material that consists of gold nanoparticles trapped within a fiber of unfolded proteins. These fibers are made in an aqueous solution that contains HAuCl4 and the protein, bovine serum albumin (BSA). By changing the ratio of gold to BSA in solution, two different types of outcomes are observed. At lower gold to BSA ratios (30–120), a purple solution results after heating the mixture at 80 ◦C for 4 h. At higher gold to BSA ratios (130–170), a clear solution containing purple fibers results after heating the mixture at 80 ◦C for 4 h. UV–Vis spectroscopy and light scattering techniques show growth in nanocolloid size as gold to BSA ratio rises above 100. Data indicate that, for the higher gold to BSA ratios, the gold is sequestered within the solid material. The material mass, visible by eye, appears to be an aggregation of smaller individual fibers. Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy indicate that these fibers are primarily one-dimensional aggregates, which can display some branching, and can be as narrow as 400 nm in size. The likely mechanism for the synthesis of the novel material is discussed.