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Mechanistic Studies on the Galvanic Replacement Reaction between Multiply Twinned Particles of Ag and HAuCl4 in an Organic Medium

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journal contribution
posted on 14.02.2007, 00:00 by Xianmao Lu, Hsing-Yu Tuan, Jingyi Chen, Zhi-Yuan Li, Brian A. Korgel, Younan Xia
This article presents a mechanistic study on the galvanic replacement reaction between 11- and 14-nm multiply twinned particles (MTPs) of Ag and HAuCl4 in chloroform. We monitored both morphological and spectral changes as the molar ratio of HAuCl4 to Ag was increased. The details of reaction were different from previous observations on single-crystal Ag nanocubes and cuboctahedrons. Because Au and Ag form alloys rapidly within small MTPs rich in vacancy and grain boundary defects, a complete Au shell did not form on the surface of each individual Ag template. Instead, the replacement reaction resulted in the formation of alloy nanorings and nanocages from Ag MTPs of decahedral or icosahedral shape. For the nanorings and nanocages derived from 11-nm Ag MTPs, the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) peak can be continuously shifted from 400 to 616 nm. When the size of Ag MTPs was increased to 14 nm, the SPR peak can be further shifted to 740 nm, a wavelength sought by biomedical applications. We have also investigated the effects of capping ligands and AgCl precipitate on the replacement reaction. While hollow structures were routinely generated from oleylamine-capped Ag MTPs, we obtained very few hollow structures by using a stronger capping ligand such as oleic acid or tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (TOPO). Addition of extra oleylamine was found to be critical to the formation of well-controlled, uniform hollow structures free of AgCl contamination thanks to the formation of a soluble complex between AgCl and oleylamine.