5 years ago

Microwave Enhancement of Autocatalytic Growth of Nanometals

Microwave Enhancement of Autocatalytic Growth of Nanometals
Brian B. Lynch, Parth N. Vakil, Christopher M. Dyer, Geoffrey F. Strouse, Jeffery Owens, Bridgett Ashley, Joseph B. Tracy
The desire for designing efficient synthetic methods that lead to industrially important nanomaterials has led a desire to more fully understand the mechanism of growth and how modern synthetic techniques can be employed. Microwave (MW) synthesis is one such technique that has attracted attention as a green, sustainable method. The reports of enhancement of formation rates and improved quality for MW driven reactions are intriguing, but the lack of understanding of the reaction mechanism and how coupling to the MW field leads to these observations is concerning. In this manuscript, the growth of a metal nanoparticles (NPs) in a microwave cavity is spectroscopically analyzed and compared with the classical autocatalytic method of NP growth to elucidate the underpinnings for the observed enhanced growth behavior for metal NPs prepared in a MW field. The study illustrates that microwave synthesis of nickel and gold NPs below saturation conditions follows the Finke–Watzky mechanism of nucleation and growth. The enhancement of the reaction arises from the size-dependent increase in MW absorption cross section for the metal NPs. For Ni, the presence of oxides is considered via theoretical computations and compared to dielectric measurements of isolated nickel NPs. The study definitively shows that MW growth can be modeled by an autocatalytic mechanism that directly leads to the observed enhanced rates and improved quality widely reported in the nanomaterial community when MW irradiation is employed.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b04040

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b04040

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