Control over electroless plating of silver on silica nanoparticles with sodium citrate

Jeffrey E. Chen, Qifeng Wang, Kenneth R. Shull, Jeffrey J. Richards*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We describe the use of citrate to control the electroless plating of silver metal on silica nanoparticles. We find that the incorporation of relatively small amounts of citrate during the reduction of the Tollens’ reagent in the presence of sensitized silica nanoparticles induces a continuous transition from conformal to raspberry particle coatings. This transition is dependent on both the citrate concentration and the silver precursor concentration. We characterize this transition using electron microscopy and spectroscopy and use these results to confirm citrate's ability to cap and restrict silver growth. We compliment these structural measurements with in-situ quartz crystal microbalance experiments to quantify citrate's role as a complexing agent to slow silver reduction kinetics. These results confirm citrate's dual role in controlling the morphology of silver deposits produced in this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-384
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Capping agent
  • Complexing agent
  • Electroless plating
  • Nanoparticle
  • Silica
  • Silver
  • Sodium citrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Biomaterials
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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