In this paper, we describe the formation of Au nanoparticle-graphene oxide (Au-GO) and -reduced GO (Au-rGO) composites by noncovalent attachment of Au nanoparticles premodified with 2-mercaptopyridine to GO and rGO sheets, respectively, via π–π stacking and other molecular interactions. Compared with in situ reduction of HAuCl4 on the surface of graphene sheets that are widely used to prepare Au-GO composites, the approach developed by us offers well controlled size, size distribution, and morphology of the metal nanoparticles in the metal-GO nanohybrids. Moreover, we investigated surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and catalysis properties of the Au-graphene composites. We have demonstrated that the Au-GO composites are superior SERS substrates to the Au NPs. Similarly, a comparative study on the catalytic activities of the Au, Au-GO, and Au-rGO composites in the reduction of o-nitroaniline to 1,2-benzenediamine by NaBH4 indicates that both Au-GO and Au-rGO composites exhibit significantly higher catalytic activities than the corresponding Au nanoparticles.
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