However, colorimetric assays can provide visual, on-site analysis, providing a simple and instantaneous detection method. In this work, a facile colorimetic assay has been proposed based on anti-aggregation of gold nanoparticles. Gold nanoparticles coated with aromatic amines react with nitrite ions that alter the aggregation state of the nanoparticles. The change to the aggregation state causes a shift in the local surface plasmon resonance bands, triggering a colorimetric response. An increase in the concentration of nitrite ions changes the color of the solution, which can be detected by the naked eye.
While many approaches have used thiol-based linkers, our use of disulphide cross-linkers, which bind more strongly to gold has increased the sensitivity of detection by an order of magnitude. Furthermore, the effect of this assay on synthetic urine has been explored to understand the effect of the presence of foreign ions on the detection of nitrite.
Keywords: Anti- aggregation, gold nanoparticles, surface plasmon, aromatic amines