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Gold coating of silica and zinc oxide nanoparticles by the surface reduction of gold(I) chloride

English, Michael David (2012) Gold coating of silica and zinc oxide nanoparticles by the surface reduction of gold(I) chloride. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The possibility of a surface inner sphere electron transfer mechanism leading to the coating of gold via the surface reduction of gold(I) chloride on metal and semi-metal oxide nanoparticles was investigated. Silica and zinc oxide nanoparticles are known to have very different surface chemistry, potentially leading to a new class of gold coated nanoparticles.

Monodisperse silica nanoparticles were synthesised by the well known Stöber protocol in conjunction with sonication. The nanoparticle size was regulated solely by varying the amount of ammonia solution added. The presence of surface hydroxyl groups was investigated by liquid proton NMR. The resultant nanoparticle size was directly measured by the use of TEM.

The synthesised silica nanoparticles were dispersed in acetonitrile (MeCN) and added to a bis acetonitrile gold(I) co-ordination complex [Au(MeCN)2]+ in MeCN. The silica hydroxyl groups were deprotonated in the presence of MeCN generating a formal negative charge on the siloxy groups. This allowed the [Au(MeCN)2]+ complex to undergo ligand exchange with the silica nanoparticles, which formed a surface co-ordination complex with reduction to gold(0), that proceeded by a surface inner sphere electron transfer mechanism. The residual [Au(MeCN)2]+ complex was allowed to react with water, disproportionating into gold(0) and gold(III) respectively, with gold(0) being added to the reduced gold already bound on the silica surface. The so-formed metallic gold seed surface was found to be suitable for the conventional reduction of gold(III) to gold(0) by ascorbic acid. This process generated a thin and uniform gold coating on the silica nanoparticles.

This process was modified to include uniformly gold coated composite zinc oxide nanoparticles (Au@ZnO NPs) using surface co-ordination chemistry. AuCl dissolved in acetonitrile (MeCN) supplied chloride ions which were adsorbed onto ZnO NPs. The co-ordinated gold(I) was reduced on the ZnO surface to gold(0) by the inner sphere electron transfer mechanism. Addition of water disproportionated the remaining gold(I) to gold(0) and gold(III). Gold(0) bonded to gold(0) on the NP surface with gold(III) was reduced to gold(0) by ascorbic acid (ASC), which completed the gold coating process.

This gold coating process of Au@ZnO NPs was modified to incorporate iodide instead of chloride. ZnO NPs were synthesised by the use of sodium oxide, zinc iodide and potassium iodide in refluxing basic ethanol with iodide controlling the presence of chemisorbed oxygen. These ZnO NPs were treated by the addition of gold(I) chloride dissolved in acetonitrile leaving chloride anions co-ordinated on the ZnO NP surface. This allowed acetonitrile ligands in the added [Au(MeCN)2]+ complex to surface exchange with adsorbed chloride from the dissolved AuCl on the ZnO NP surface. Gold(I) was then reduced by the surface inner sphere electron transfer mechanism. The presence of the reduced gold on the ZnO NPs allowed adsorption of iodide to generate a uniform deposition of gold onto the ZnO NP surface without the use of additional reducing agents or heat.

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ID Code: 51084
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Waclawik, Eric
Keywords: gold coated silica nanoparticles, gold coated zinc oxide nanoparticles, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Chemistry
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Jun 2012 14:45
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2012 14:45

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