Earlier this month, we reported that a group led by Jicun Ren, of Shanghai Jiaotong University, had retracted a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on a way to measure the concentration of gold nanoparticles. Turns out they are also retracting a very similar paper about silver nanoparticles published in the January 18, 2010 issue of Chemistry: A European Journal.
Ren tells Retraction Watch that the silver paper, “Ultrahighly sensitive homogenous detection of DNA and microRNA by using single-silver-nanoparticle counting,” is being retracted for the same reason as the gold one. From our earlier post (just substitute “silver” for “gold”):
…our molecular biology guru Jeff Perkel tells us that Ren and his colleagues designed the technique to detect flashes of light thrown off by gold nanoparticles in order to measure their concentration. But it seems they forgot to correct for something, and ended up with a technique that looked about three orders of magnitude more powerful than it actually is.
The whole point of the paper was that the technique was two to five times more powerful than existing methods, so once you take away that inaccurate extra power, you’re left with a technique that only works as well as the existing one. It made the findings a bit “so what?”
The silver paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.