Stable water-dispersible silver nanoparticles with a narrow size distribution are obtained by light-assisted spontaneous reduction of silver nitrate with gelatin, which acts as both the reducing and the stabilizing agents, in water. The formation mechanism of the silver nanoparticles involves an in-situ conversion of Ag+-gelatin aggregates to gelatin-stabilized silver nanoparticles via a Ag+-mediated oxidation of primary amine groups of the gelatin to carboxylic acid groups. The resultant silver nanoparticles are well within the quantum size domain (10 nm). In addition, the nanoparticles are stable in aqueous solutions and can be separated easily by simple pH adjustment.
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