The team produced the metal/polymer nanocomposite materials by simultaneous photoreduction of a gold precursor and photopolymerization of a blend of monomers. Interestingly, the one-pot one-step synthesis does not require prior seeding or the use of any stabilizing agents. Indeed, the co-polymers under synthesis provide a friendly environment, which is favourable to the nucleation and growth of gold particles.

Photochemistry

The group investigated the effect of the incident light power on nanoparticle growth and found that the conversion of gold (+3) into gold (0) and the shape of gold nanoparticles turned out to be highly sensitive to the fluence of the light source used to trigger the photoprocesses.

This work exemplifies the tremendous potential of this parameter that drives the growth of gold nanoparticles and allows a variety of shapes – spheres, cubes or triangular prisms – to be obtained.

From a general viewpoint, photoinduced synthesis offers substantial advantages. It combines the characteristic features of light activation – the process is versatile and convenient, provides high spatial resolution and reaction control (via intensity and wavelength) – with the simplicity of the colloidal approach.

More details can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.