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Large-Scale Synthesis of Metal Nanocrystals in Aqueous Suspensions

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journal contribution
posted on 20.04.2016 by Anna Klinkova, Egor M. Larin, Elisabeth Prince, Edward H. Sargent, Eugenia Kumacheva
Fundamental studies and practical use of metal nanoparticles (NPs) frequently depend on the ability to reproducibly synthesize large quantities of shape-specific NPs. For this reason, facile synthetic procedures are desired that will lead to large quantities of uniformly sized metal NPs exhibiting specific shapes. Here, we report a general approach to the large-scale synthesis of noble metal nanocrystals having well-defined shapes and a narrow size distribution. This method utilizes seed-mediated NP growth in aqueous suspensions of cationic surfactants and metal salts. It leads to a ∼60-fold increase in NP volumetric production capacity, compared to the most widely used solution-based synthetic methods. In addition, it uses up to 100 times less cationic surfactant than conventional solution-based methods. The applicability of the method is demonstrated in the synthesis of Pd nanocubes, rhombic dodecahedra, and polyhedrons with low index facets; branched Pd nanocrystals; alloy Pt/Pd nanocubes; Ag nanocubes. The advantages and limitations of the approach are discussed, including accessible shapes, growth kinetics, and the capability to scale up the synthetic procedure.