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Cu–Ag Alloy Nanoparticles in Hydrogel Nanofibers for the Catalytic Reduction of Organic Compounds

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posted on 2021-05-25, 20:14 authored by Yuen Yee Li Sip, David W. Fox, Lorianne R. Shultz, Marie Davy, Hee-Suk Chung, Dennis-Xavier Antony, Yeonwoong Jung, Titel Jurca, Lei Zhai
Nanoalloys or alloy nanoparticles containing multiple metals are of great interest because the combination of multiple metals in close proximity can grant enhanced properties including stability, activity, and selectivity arising from synergism that cannot be accessed by the combination of individual metals. In this study, we have produced nanoalloys in stable flexible electrospun hydrogel nanofibers composed of poly­(acrylic acid) and poly­(allylamine hydrochloride). The hydrogel fibers were loaded with metal ions such as copper and silver through an immersion in metal salt solutions followed by a chemical reduction to form the metal nanoparticles. The hydrogel matrix allowed for the absorption of metal ions into the fibers and provided a viscous environment to promote the formation of alloy particles in the small diameter range (<25 nm). The proposed fabrication process is advantageous in terms of simplicity, controllability, and versatility. The reductions of 4-nitrophenol and methylene blue were performed to test and compare the catalytic activity of monometallic nanoparticles and copper–silver bimetallic nanoparticles. The copper–silver bimetallic nanoparticles demonstrated preferred selectivity for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol and higher catalytic activity for the reduction of methylene blue. Overall, we have developed promising stable flexible nanocomposites for catalytic reduction of organic redox compounds, and other catalytic nanoalloy systems could be further studied by modification of the procedure.

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