Electrical conductivity and vapor-sensing properties of ω=(3-thienyl)alkanethiol-protected gold nanoparticle films

Heejoon Ahn, Amol Chandekar, Bongwoo Kang, Changmo Sung, James E. Whitten

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Gold nanoparticles protected with thiophene-terminated alkanethiols having different alkane chain lengths have been synthesized, and vapor-sensing properties of their spin-coated films have been investigated. Transmission electron microscopy and measurement of the sulfur and gold peak areas of the films by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy indicate gold core diameters in the 3-5-nm range. Exposure of the films to chloroform, toluene, hexane, and ethanol vapors results in significant and selective increases in electrical resistance, with the response to the vapors having the following order: toluene > chloroform > hexane ≫ ethanol. The magnitude of the maximum resistance change correlates well with solubility properties of the protected gold nanoparticles, as determined by optical absorbance spectroscopy and the energy of the gold plasmon. The detection sensitivity of the films increases with increasing alkanethiol chain length. These data are consistent with a sensing mechanism in which organic vapors cause swelling of the nanoparticle film, resulting in increased distance between the gold cores. In the case of ethanol, a decrease in resistance occurs at high vapor concentration, presumably due to an increase in the dielectric constant of the medium between the cores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3274-3278
Number of pages5
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Aug 24


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