Polymer-Mediated Particle Coarsening within Hollow Silica Shell Nanoreactors

Liban Jibril, Matthew Cheng, Carolin B. Wahl, Vinayak P. Dravid, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Inspired by the scanning probe block copolymer lithography process, hollow silica shells were loaded with polymer─metal ink mixtures and investigated as solution-based nanoreactors for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles. The incorporation of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) into these hollow silica nanoreactors (approximately 40 nm in size) and the use of a two-step reductive annealing process (first at 200 °C and then at 600 °C) results in a high yield (76%) of larger (∼6 nm) single nanoparticles; when the polymer is not used, smaller (∼3 nm) particles dominate, and the yield of single particles is only 6%. It was determined that particle coarsening mostly occurs in the temperature range where the polymer is present and not degraded (i.e., <400 °C for PEO), as indicted by correlative in situ scanning/transmission electron microscopy in a reductive gas-phase environment. Thus, polymer incorporation in this nanoreactor system, which is amenable to scale up, drives the complete conversion of nanoreactor contents without excessive metal loss, highlighting the impact of nanoreactor composition and structural design on particle synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5094-5102
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 14 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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