Nanostructured materials have garnered great interest worldwide due to their unique size-dependent properties for chemical, electronic, structural, medical and consumer applications.
Singapore's Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) has discovered a new environmentally friendly method to synthesize a wide variety of nanoparticles inexpensively. This new chemical synthesis has been recently published in Nature Materials.
IBN researchers have developed a protocol to transfer metal ions from an aqueous solution to an organic solution such as toluene. Metal compounds that can dissolve in water are inexpensive and commonly available.
Many useful metals and scarce materials that are soluble in water may now become readily employed in the synthesis of nanoparticles. This new approach developed by IBN is a simple, room-temperature process that does not produce toxic chemicals.
The IBN research team has successfully transferred metal ions rapidly from water to an organic medium by mixing a solution of metal salts dissolved in water with an ethanol solution of dodecylamine (DDA). The metals would bond with the DDA and can then be extracted with an organic solvent, chemical compounds that usually have a low boiling point, evaporate easily or can be removed by distillation. Solvents can be used to extract soluble chemical complexes from a mixture.
At IBN, the transfer of the metal ions from the aqueous phase to the organic phase was successfully applied towards the synthesis of a variety of metallic, alloy and semiconductor nanoparticles.
In contrast to other approaches for nanoparticles synthesis, the IBN protocol allows metal-based nanoparticles to be prepared in an organic medium using water-soluble, inexpensive, common metal precursors.
This method is highly efficient and easily applied to derive many types of nanoparticles that have interesting applications, including metal-semic
|Contact: Cathy Yarbrough|
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore