A simple pH-independent optical method for the sensing of heparin, as a biomedically important polyionic drug, based on aggregation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) is described. The polyanionic heparin induces the aggregation of positively charged ionic liquid stabilized AuNPs, which results in a shift in the surface plasmon band and a consequent color change of the AuNPs from red to blue. The color change was monitored using UV-visspectrophotometry and image analysis methods. The aggregation was confirmed by transmission electron microscopic measurements. The degree of aggregation was found to be proportional to the concentration of the added heparin, allowing its quantitative detection. The change in the absorbance and color-value has been used to monitor the concentration of heparin. This optical method can quantify heparin as low as 0.010 μg mL−1 and the calibration is linear for a wide range of concentration.
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