Size-Controlled Synthesis of Colloidal Silver Nanoparticles Based on Mechanistic Understanding

Metal nanoparticles have attracted much attention due to their unique properties. Size control provides an effective key to an accurate adjustment of colloidal properties. The common approach to size control is testing different sets of parameters via trial and error. The actual particle growth mechanisms, and in particular the influences of synthesis parameters on the growth process, remain a black box. As a result, precise size control is rarely achieved for most metal nanoparticles. This contribution presents an approach to size control that is based on mechanistic knowledge. It is exemplified for a common silver nanoparticle synthesis, namely, the reduction of AgClO4 with NaBH4. Conducting this approach allowed a well-directed modification of this synthesis that enables, for the first time, the size-controlled production of silver nanoparticles 4–8 nm in radius without addition of any stabilization agent.