Oct 10, 2012
Light controls the morphology of gold nanoparticles synthesized in a polymer matrix
Reseachers in France and Romania have prepared gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) with various morphologies, including triangles, cubes and nanospheres. The nanoparticles are generated in a dry, solid and easy-to-handle polymer medium and could find applications in various fields such as biotechnology or engineering.
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.
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.
About the author
Lavinia Balan is a senior research scientist at the Institute of Materials Science of Mulhouse CNRS LRC 7228, France. She is currently exploring the (photo)chemical synthesis of metal/polymer nanocomposites and the design, customization and characterization of metal nanoparticles and nanocrystals suited for advanced applications in the fields of optics, photonics, plasmonics, information storage, imaging or biology. This work was carried out in the framework of a collaborative project with the Petru Poni Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Iasi, Romania, where Violeta Melinte is a postdoctoral researcher and Tinca Buruiana is a senior researcher. Raphaël Schneider is a professor in the Reactions and Chemical Engineering Laboratory (LRGP) and Loïc Vidal is based at the Institute of Materials Science of Mulhouse. This work was supported by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche, ANR JCJC 2009, project Photoplasm.