Gold nanoparticle networks were obtained by linking them with cysteine modified triethyleneglycols. The oligo-ether linker molecule initially having a linear structure probably adopts a crown ether type structure upon complexation with alkali metal ions that leads to a controlled aggregation of the network. The extent of aggregation depends on the degree of conformational change in the molecule upon complexation with the metal ion, which in turn is governed by the metal ion radius leading to a dependence of red shift of the surface plasmon resonance on the metal ion radius. Since this network is present in the organic solvent they also act as phase transferring agent for the alkali metal ions from aqueous to organic media.
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