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Highly branched and hollow gold nanourchins for bacterial killing and off-resonance SERS sensing

Nhung Thi Tran, Tien-Giang Nguyen, Minh-Tam Le, Khanh-Son Trinh, Viet-Duc Phung, Anh-Tuan Nguyen Huynh, and Nam-Thang Pham

Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam



Received: 18 May 2023  Accepted: 28 August 2023


Herein, we systematically investigated the synthesis of hollow gold nanourchins characterized by multiple sharp tips with extremely small radii of 5–10 nm radiating from central cores. The two-step-based approach was exploited to produce hollow Au nanourchins. The pre-synthesized Ag nanospheres were used as sacrificial templates in the galvanic replacement with HAuCl4 precursor to assist the formation of hollow cores. Subsequently, ascorbic acid was added to trigger the co-reduction reactions to promote the growth of multiple sharp tips. The hollow Au nanourchins exhibit tunable morphology and optical response in the visible to near-infrared regions (725–1040 nm), simply by adjusting different reaction parameters, including the amounts of Ag seed, HAuCl4 precursor, and ascorbic acid. Notably, the hollow Au nanourchins demonstrate a remarkably potent bactericidal efficiency against E. coli, surpassing that of spiky Au nanoparticles with solid cores. A better antibacterial activities were also observed for hollow Au nanourchins with shorter tips as compared to those with longer tips. Furthermore, the synthesized particles display a significant SERS enhancement toward the detection of Rhodamine B (10−4 M) even under off-resonance conditions. These findings highlight the potential of the hollow Au nanourchins as multifunctional materials for sensing and biological applications.

Keywords: Hollow Au nanourchins; Bactericidal efficiency; Wide spectral tunability; Off-resonance SERS

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-03077-8


Chemical Papers 77 (12) 7505–7514 (2023)

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