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Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis by Chemical Reduction Method

Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis by Chemical Reduction Method: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) hold immense potential in the pharmaceutical field. Their unique antimicrobial properties, potential for drug delivery, and use in wound dressings, make them incredibly valuable tools.

One of the most common ways to create AgNPs is through chemical reduction. This method is adaptable, can be scaled up, and often allows for some control over the size and shape of the nanoparticles, which influences their properties.

Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis by Chemical Reduction Method
Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis by Chemical Reduction Method

Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis by Chemical Reduction Method

What is Chemical Reduction Synthesis: Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis

The basic idea is surprisingly simple:

  1. Silver Salt: Start with a soluble silver salt, like silver nitrate (AgNO3). This provides the silver ions (Ag+).
  2. Reducing Agent: Add a reducing agent. This is a chemical that donates electrons to the silver ions, turning them into neutral silver atoms (Ag0).
  3. From Atoms to Nanoparticles: These newly formed silver atoms love to cluster together, forming tiny nanoparticles.
  4. Stabilizer: Often, a stabilizing agent is added to prevent the nanoparticles from clumping into larger, less useful particles.

Common Reducing Agents: Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis

  • Sodium borohydride (NaBH4): A powerful reducing agent, producing relatively small AgNPs.
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): A milder option, good for creating biocompatible nanoparticles.
  • Sodium Citrate: Can act as both a reducing agent and a stabilizer.
  • Natural Extracts: Plant extracts can be used, promoting “green” synthesis.

The Importance of Control: Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis

How this process is carried out dramatically influences the final nanoparticles:

  • Temperature: Higher temperatures generally speed up the reaction, leading to smaller particles.
  • Concentration: The amounts of silver salt and reducing agent affect particle size and how many are formed.
  • Mixing: How things are mixed and stirred influences how uniform the nanoparticles are.

Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis by Chemical Reduction Method


  • Silver nitrate (AgNO3, >99% purity)
  • Sodium citrate (Na3C6H5O7, reagent grade)
  • Ascorbic acid (C6H8O6, pharmaceutical grade)
  • Deionized water (DI)
  • Sterile glassware and equipment

Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles

  1. Solution Preparation
    • Prepare a 0.1 M silver nitrate solution by dissolving the appropriate amount of AgNO3 in DI water.
    • Prepare a 1% (w/v) sodium citrate solution in DI water.
    • Prepare a 0.05 M ascorbic acid solution in DI water. (Note: Ascorbic acid solution should be freshly prepared).
  2. Reduction and Nanoparticle Formation
    • Under continuous stirring, add 5 mL of sodium citrate solution to 50 mL of boiling silver nitrate solution. Observe the color change (typically to pale yellow) indicating initial AgNP formation.
    • While maintaining boiling conditions, add 5 mL of the ascorbic acid solution dropwise. Continue boiling and stirring for an additional 30 minutes.
  3. Purification
    • Cool the nanoparticle suspension to room temperature.
    • Centrifuge the suspension at 10,000 rpm for 20 minutes to separate the AgNPs.
    • Discard the supernatant and resuspend the AgNP pellet in DI water.
    • Repeat the centrifugation and washing step twice more.
  4. Storage
    • Resuspend the final AgNP pellet in a small volume of DI water, adding a trace amount of sodium citrate ( 0.01%) as a stabilizer.
    • Store the AgNP suspension in a dark, airtight container at 4°C.


  • UV-Vis Spectroscopy: Analyze the AgNP suspension using a UV-Vis spectrophotometer to confirm the characteristic absorbance peak in the range of 400-450 nm.
  • Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS): Determine the average particle size and size distribution of the AgNPs.
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM): Visualize the morphology and size of individual AgNPs.
  • Zeta Potential: Measure the surface charge of the AgNPs, which influences their stability in suspension.

Antimicrobial Testing

  • Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) Assay: Determine the MIC of the synthesized AgNPs against a panel of relevant bacterial strains (e.g., E.coli, S.aureus). Use standard broth microdilution methods and appropriate controls.

Cytotoxicity Evaluation

  • MTT Assay (or similar): Assess the potential cytotoxicity of the AgNPs using a relevant mammalian cell line (e.g., human fibroblasts). Include dose-response studies and positive/negative controls.

Pharmaceutical Considerations

  • Sterility: For most applications, the process needs to be performed under aseptic conditions to prevent contamination.
  • Biocompatibility: The choice of reducing agent and stabilizer must be safe for their intended pharmaceutical use.
  • Toxicity: Even though silver has antimicrobial effects, silver nanoparticles can have their own toxicity profile, requiring careful evaluation.

Applications in Pharmacy: Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis

  • Antimicrobial Coatings: AgNPs can be incorporated into coatings for medical devices or wound dressings to prevent infections.
  • Drug Delivery: They can act as carriers for drugs, improving targeting or allowing the controlled release of therapeutics.
  • Therapeutic Agents: There’s growing interest in using AgNPs themselves as antimicrobial agents, especially against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Advantages & Challenges: Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis


  • Controllable: Can tailor particle properties to a degree.
  • Scalable: Suited for both small-scale research and larger production.


  • Potential Toxicity: Careful safety assessment is always needed.
  • Stability: Some AgNP formulations might degrade over time or in specific biological environments.


Research continues into refining chemical reduction methods, developing new reducing agents, and finding innovative ways to use AgNPs. Their potential to revolutionize drug delivery, combat infection, and enhance various pharmaceutical formulations is incredibly exciting!

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