Plasmonic Semiconductor Nanocrystals as Chemical Sensors: Pb2+Quantitation via Aggregation-Induced Plasmon Resonance Shift

Moran Guo, Wing Cheung Law, Xin Liu, Hongxin Cai, Liwei Liu, Mark T. Swihart, Xihe Zhang, Paras N. Prasad

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate, for the first time, the use of plasmonic semiconductor nanocrystals for the analysis of heavy metal ions in water. This highly sensitive localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR)-based platform is built on glutathione (GSH) capped Cu2-xS nanocrystals, which exhibit LSPR at near infrared (NIR) wavelengths. Aggregation of GSH-capped Cu2-xS occurs specifically in the presence of lead ions, Pb2+, producing a shift in the LSPR absorbance peak. Under optimal assay conditions, the detection limit was as low as 0.25 μM (52.5 ppb) of Pb2+. This provides a new plasmonic semiconductor nanocrystal-based assay for the detection of environmentally hazardous materials. The assay employs non-toxic and earth-abundant elements and could potentially be produced at much lower cost than similar gold nanoparticle-based assays.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-898
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Aggregation-induced detection
  • Copper sulfide
  • Heavy metal ion
  • Plasmonics
  • Semiconductor nanocrystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

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