American Chemical Society
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General Synthetic Strategy for Libraries of Supported Multicomponent Metal Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-04-18, 15:23 authored by Hui Yang, Siobhan J. Bradley, Xin Wu, Andrew Chan, Geoffrey I. N. Waterhouse, Thomas Nann, Jian Zhang, Paul E. Kruger, Shengqian Ma, Shane G. Telfer
Nanoparticles comprising three or more different metals are challenging to prepare. General methods that tackle this challenge are highly sought after as multicomponent metal nanoparticles display favorable properties in applications such as catalysis, biomedicine, and imaging. Herein, we report a practical and versatile approach for the synthesis of nanoparticles composed of up to four different metals. This method relies on the thermal decomposition of nanostructured composite materials assembled from platinum nanoparticles, a metal–organic framework (ZIF-8), and a tannic acid coordination polymer. The controlled integration of multiple metal cations (Ni, Co, Cu, Mn, Fe, and/or Tb) into the tannic acid shell of the precursor material dictates the composition of the final multicomponent metal nanoparticles. Upon thermolysis, the platinum nanoparticles seed the growth of the multicomponent metal nanoparticles via coalescence with the metallic constituents of the tannic acid coordination polymer. The nanoparticles are supported in the walls of hollow nitrogen-doped porous carbon capsules created by the decomposition of the organic components of the precursor. The capsules prevent sintering and detachment of the nanoparticles, and their porosity allows for efficient mass transport. To demonstrate the utility of producing a broad library of supported multicomponent metal nanoparticles, we tested their electrocatalytic performance toward the hydrogen evolution reaction and oxygen evolution reaction. We discovered functional relationships between the composition of the nanoparticles and their electrochemical activity and identified the PtNiCu and PtNiCuFe nanoparticles as particularly efficient catalysts. This highlights how to generate diverse libraries of multicomponent metal nanoparticles that can be synthesized and subsequently screened to identify high-performance materials for target applications.