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ASTM E3269-21

Standard Test Method for Determination of the Mass Fraction of Particle-Bound Gold in Colloidal Gold Suspensions

Standard Test Method for Determination of the Mass Fraction of Particle-Bound Gold in Colloidal Gold Suspensions E3269-21 ASTM|E3269-21|en-US Standard Test Method for Determination of the Mass Fraction of Particle-Bound Gold in Colloidal Gold Suspensions Standard new BOS Vol. 14.02 Committee E56
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Significance and Use

5.1 Au nano-objects in various shapes (that is, rods, particles) are increasingly used for a wide variety of applications. Medical applications of AuNPs, such as targeted drug delivery, tumor detection, and treatment are becoming more common (5). AuNPs have unique optical properties related to their size and their surface can be readily functionalized. Though Au is recognized to be inert and biocompatible in its bulk form, the behavior of Au nano-objects in biological systems and the environment must be tested to ensure their inertness and safety (6). It is important to know whether prepared and stored suspensions of AuNPs contain Au in its bound state (commonly Au (0) and particle adsorbed species) or ionized state (commonly, Au (I) or Au (III)) to attribute the biological response to the appropriate species. Krug, et al., concluded that the significance of toxicity studies is considerably reduced in those cases where the material properties of the nanomaterial suspensions were not characterized prior to and during the study (7). Furthermore, the analyte mass fraction of particle bound species is used with knowledge of particle size to compute particle number concentration.


1.1 This test method describes the use of inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES; also includes ICP-AES, where AES is atomic emission spectrometry) or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for the determination of the mass fraction of particle bound gold (Au) in colloidal Au suspensions. Particle bound Au is defined as the mass of Au associated with the nanoparticle (NP) fraction and strongly adsorbed to the particle surface. Unbound Au is the fraction of Au in the native suspension not associated with the Au nanoparticle fraction that is, the dissolved Au existing in solution as a complex or free ion. The mass fraction of particle bound Au is determined by subtracting the mass fraction of unbound Au measured in acidified subsamples of the particle-free supernatant from the total Au mass fraction measured in acid-digested subsamples of the colloidal Au suspension. The particle-free supernatant is obtained after centrifugation of the colloidal Au suspension. This standard prescribes the use of an appropriate internal standard and calibration using either external standardization or single-point standard additions.

1.2 Colloidal gold suspensions with AuNP diameters ranging from 1 nm to 100 nm can be determined with this method.

1.3 The standard is not limited to particles with a uniform Au composition and may be applicable to a core-shell particle with a Au shell treatment.

1.4 This standard is specific to Au. The method may be applicable to other elements measurable by ICP-OES or ICP-MS but is limited to nanoparticles that are not reactive in aqueous suspension.

1.5 No detailed instructions for operating instrumentation are provided because of differences among various makes and models. Instead, the analyst shall follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of their particular ICP-OES, ICP-MS or centrifuge instrument, especially with regard to optimization of the instrument settings.

1.6 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurements are included in this standard.

1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.8 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E56.02
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.1520/E3269-21
ICS Code: 71.040.40