Alloy nanoparticles are important in many fields, including catalysis, plasmonics, and electronics, due to the chemical and physical properties that arise from the interactions between their components. Typically, alloy nanoparticles are made by solution-based synthesis; however, scanning-probe-based methods offer the ability to make and position such structures on surfaces with nanometer-scale resolution. In particular, scanning probe block copolymer lithography (SPBCL), which combines elements of block copolymer lithography with scanning probe techniques, allows one to synthesize nanoparticles with control over particle diameter in the 2-50 nm range. Thus far, single-element structures have been studied in detail, but, in principle, one could make a wide variety of multicomponent systems by controlling the composition of the polymer ink, polymer feature size, and metal precursor concentrations. Indeed, it is possible to use this approach to synthesize alloy nanoparticles comprised of combinations of Au, Ag, Pd, Ni, Co, and Pt. Here, such structures have been made with diameters deliberately tailored in the 10-20 nm range and characterized by STEM and EDS for structural and elemental composition. The catalytic activity of one class of AuPd alloy nanoparticles made via this method was evaluated with respect to the reduction of 4-nitrophenol with NaBH4. In addition to being the first catalytic studies of particles made by SPBCL, these proof-of-concept experiments demonstrate the potential for SPBCL as a new method for studying the fundamental science and potential applications of alloy nanoparticles in areas such as heterogeneous catalysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry