Controlling the size and size distribution of gold nanoparticles: A design of experiment study

Dhiraj Kumar*, Brian J. Meenan, Isha Mutreja, Raechelle D'Sa, Dorian Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The Turkevich method is the oldest and most widely employed protocol for the production of colloidal gold. Gold nanoparticles are nontoxic in nature and have potential applications in various biomedical fields including drug delivery and bioimaging. These metallic nanoparticles can be functionalized with drugs, targeting ligands such as tumor necrosis factor and groups (e.g., Poly ethylene glycol) to provide shielding from undesired immune responses. In this study we investigate the influence of process variables on the synthesis of nanoparticles by the reduction of chloroauric acid (HAuCl 4) solution with sodium citrate. A design of experiment (DoE) approach was used to investigate the influence of production volume, temperature, stirring rate and sodium citrate concentration on the physical properties of the nanoparticles namely size, size distribution, zeta potential and UV-Vis characteristics. The study showed that the relative amount of sodium citrate added (Au/citrate mole ratio) had a significant effect on the size, poly dispersity index (PDI), the number of peaks in the size distribution and the position of Lambda max in the UV-Vis spectra. By varying the Au/Citrate ratio it is possible to synthesize particles with average diameters from 20 to 80 nm. However, the use of low amounts of sodium citrate in order to produce particles larger than ∼35 nm tends to result in a wide bimodal size distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1250023
JournalInternational Journal of Nanoscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Au/Citrate Mole Ratio
  • Design of experiments
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Size distribution
  • Stirring rate
  • Synthesis
  • Temperature


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