Aqueous phase synthesis of Au-Ag core-shell nanocrystals with tunable shapes and their optical and catalytic properties

Yu-Chi Tsao, Sourav Rej, Chun-Ya Chiu, Michael H Huang
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014 January 8, 136 (1): 396-404
In this study, rhombic dodecahedral gold nanocrystals were used as cores for the generation of Au-Ag core-shell nanocrystals with cubic, truncated cubic, cuboctahedral, truncated octahedral, and octahedral structures. Gold nanocrystals were added to an aqueous mixture of cetyltrimethylammonium chloride (CTAC) surfactant, AgNO3, ascorbic acid, and NaOH to form the core-shell nanocrystals. The nanocrystals are highly uniform in size and shape, and can readily self-assemble into ordered packing structures on substrates. Results from observation of solution color changes and variation in the reaction temperature suggest octahedra are produced at a higher growth rate, while slower growth favors cube formation. The major localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) band positions for these nanocrystals are red-shifted compared to those for pristine silver particles with similar dimensions due to the LSPR effect from the gold cores. By increasing the concentrations of reagents, Au-Ag core-shell cubes and octahedra with tunable sizes were obtained. Au-Ag cubes with body diagonals of 130, 144, and 161 nm and octahedra with body diagonals of 113, 126, and 143 nm have been prepared, allowing the investigation of size effect on their optical properties. Au-Ag octahedra with thinner Ag shells (12-16.5 nm) exhibit a blue-shifted major LSPR band relative to the LSPR band at 538 nm for the gold cores. For Au-Ag octahedra and cubes with thicker shells (22.5-37 nm), the major LSPR band is progressively red-shifted from that of the gold cores with increasing shell thickness and particle size. The Au-Ag octahedra show higher catalytic activity than cubes toward reduction of 2-amino-5-nitrophenol by NaBH4 at 30 °C, but both particle shapes display significantly enhanced catalytic efficiency at 40 °C.

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